Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sweet without sugar

Stevia seeds are so tiny, you have to be extra careful when handling them.

Paper towel method:
Place seeds you want to germinate in to a moist paper towel. You must to keep them in a warm place. Start indoors 8-10 weeks before last anticipated frost. Lightly cover and keep moist.

To retain moisture, simply put your wet paper towel within a ziploc plastic bag at germination, the outside shell of the seed splits and a tiny, white sprout called taproot pops out. When you see those little taproots coming out of the seeds, gently place them(root down) in to the soil Place in a south facing window or under grow lights until seedlings emerge. Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days.

Keep your soil equally moist for the next few weeks. Don't drown them! Over watering presents a big problem Transplant to individual containers when seedlings have at least two pairs of leaves. Be careful not to overwater your stevia. Only give them a drink when you need to prevent wilting. Before transplanting into the garden, but after the last frost, "harden off" plants by setting in a shady location outdoors for one week. After last frost, set plants out in the garden, spacing 18" apart.

Stevia is ready for harvest 40 days after transplanting. Or keep it as a plant ...This herb is 300 times sweeter than sugar. The small, green leaves are a sugar-free natural sweetener. Try fresh leaves in drinks or as an edible garnish. To make Stevia powder, dry individual leaves on screens or pull the entire plant and hang to dry. Store dried, crushed leaves in a airtight container


According to
Studies have shown the following benefits from using Stevia in your diet.

> Sugarless with no calories
> Will not affect blood sugar levels (neither up or down)
> 100% Natural
> Up to 300 times sweeter than sugar
> Heat and freezer stable (ideal for cooking, baking and freezing)
> Non-fermentable
> Flavour enhancer
> Plaque retardant Anti-caries (prevents cavities)
> Recommended for diabetics
> Non-toxic
> Extensively tested in humans and animals with no adverse effects.

Now that's what I call SWEET! 


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