Stevia sweetener is a versatile, natural sugar substitute derived from the leaves of the Stevia rebaudiana plant, native to South America. It is a popular choice for those seeking a healthier alternative to traditional sugar and artificial sweeteners. Containing zero calories and boasting a glycemic index of zero, it is particularly attractive to diabetics and those looking to reduce their sugar intake or manage their weight.
The sweetening power of stevia is significantly higher than that of table sugar, with a little going a long way. It is readily available in various forms, such as liquid drops, powdered and granulated versions, making it easy to incorporate into an array of recipes and beverages. However, stevia can have a mildly bitter aftertaste, so it is advised to use it sparingly and adjust to individual preferences.
When using Stevia as a sweetener, the main issues people run into are using too much due to its high sweetness intensity, and dealing with its slight aftertaste which can sometimes be bitter. It's worth noting that while it's a healthier option, it behaves differently than sugar in baked goods. For example, Stevia won't caramelize or provide the same moisture that sugar does. Therefore, if you're baking with Stevia, you may have to experiment with different quantities and might have to adjust the other ingredients to achieve the right texture.
To maximize the use of Stevia, start by using small amounts and gradually increase according to your taste preference to avoid over-sweetening. Mix it with other sweeteners to help reduce its aftertaste and don't forget that it doesn't work in all recipes, especially those that rely on sugar for texture and color.
Not many people know that you can DIY your Stevia liquid. All you need is pure Stevia powder and water. Mix 1 part Stevia with 4 parts water and let it sit overnight. It'll be ready for your morning coffee.
Can you bake with Stevia?
Does Stevia have any calories or carbs?
Is Stevia keto-friendly?
Will using Stevia cause a bitter aftertaste?
Can I use Stevia in coffee?
Is Stevia natural?
Can you use Stevia in place of sugar in any recipe?
How can I get rid of or minimize the Stevia aftertaste?
Is Stevia safe?
How much Stevia should I use in place of sugar?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does stevia sweetener expire?
Stevia sweetener generally has a long shelf life and can last up to 2-5 years if stored properly. Most commercially-produced stevia packets and containers come with an expiration date printed on the packaging - it's usually good for at least 1-2 years past this date as long as it's unopened. Once opened, a container of granulated or powdered stevia can last about 1 to 2 years if stored correctly, while liquid stevia may only last up to 1 year. As for homemade stevia, given it's free of preservatives, its shelf life will be significantly shorter and should be consumed in a few weeks. Freezing stevia is not common as it doesn't improve its shelf life or quality.
How do you tell if stevia sweetener is bad?
Stevia sweeteners, just like other sweeteners, don’t really spoil but can change in quality over time. If your stevia has an odd smell, or if liquid stevia appears cloudy or has developed mold, it's best to toss it. Granulated or powdered stevia may also clump together if exposed to moisture, which can cause it to degrade faster. Always check for changes in smell, color, and texture.
Tips for storing stevia sweetener to extend shelf life
• Store your stevia sweetener in a cool, dry place. The pantry or a kitchen cupboard that's away from the stove, oven, and sink is the best place for it.
• Make sure the stevia packaging is properly sealed after every use to avoid exposure to air and moisture.
• If you've homemade stevia, consider storing it in the refrigerator to slow down degradation.
• While freezing isn't necessary or beneficial for stevia, if you have large quantities you want to preserve, it can be frozen. However, ensure it's well-sealed and moisture-free before freezing.
• Always use clean, dry utensils when measuring out your stevia to prevent introducing moisture and bacteria into the container.