Stevia is known for its super sweet leaves which can be used in place of sugar. Some people do not like the “plant” taste or seeing the leaf in their drinks, desserts, etc., so there is another option, liquid stevia.
As with all herbs, harvest the stevia leaves by cutting the stems back early in the morning so the sugar content is high. This is best done as soon as the dew begins to dry.
Try to grow your stevia plant so the soil does not splash up on the leaves. This can be done by using mulch on top of the soil. The reason for this is so the oils do not wash off the leaves during cleaning. If the plant material is clean there is no need to do anything except quickly rinse the leaves under cold running water to remove any dust.
Once the leaves are picked and you make sure they are clean, shake them dry, fill a small container about half full with the leaves. A small canning jar with a plastic lid works great for this.
Cover the leaves with Everclear or Vodka. Be sure to fill the container to the top with the alcohol. All of the plant material needs to be covered with the alcohol.
Put the plastic lid on, shake it up and sit it in a cool, dark place. Shake the container once a day if possible. You can add more leaves as time goes on. Just make sure the first leaves you added are completely saturated with alcohol.
Be sure to date your bottle so you know when a month has elapsed. At this time, strain the leaves from the liquid. You may want to dump the contents through cheesecloth. Squeeze all the liquid from the leaves, place the liquid back into a glass bottle with a plastic lid and use.
If the taste is not sweet enough for you, you can add more stevia leaves to the strained liquid. I have found that once you add fresh stevia leaves three or four times, the alcohol taste and smell disappear and the product is more pleasing to the taste buds straight out of the jar.
There are many stevia conversion charts online that you can look at. Remember to start with a small amount and work up to taste. Here are some basic conversions.
2 teaspoons of sugar – use ¼ teaspoon stevia
¼ cup sugar – use ½ teaspoon stevia
1/3 cup sugar – use ¾ teaspoon stevia
½ cup sugar – use 1 ¼ teaspoons stevia
¾ cup sugar – use 1 ¾ teaspoons stevia
1 cup sugar – use 2 ½ teaspoons stevia