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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Think I'll Name Him Steve

Looky what I found at my Farmer's Market this last weekend? A real, in the flesh, Stevia Plant! It was the only one and they wanted $8 for it. Of course I snapped it right up. I was so excited by this purchase I had the Husband take a photo... as if I'd run into George Clooney or something.

I saw these two videos (#1 and #2) on YouTube recently, and while I don't know these women or if what they are saying is true, it made a little sense. Not just about why is Stevia white in our little packets, but why so many of our foods are bleached and processed chemically. That has been in the back of my mind for a bit, so that is why I shelled out the big bucks for my little plant. But no matter how you get it, remember there is no Splenda or Aspartame plant!

Now I just have to figure out how to use it! Any of you growing your own Stevia? I would love (no make the LOVE) to hear about it. I googled it a bit and it seems it needs to mature some for the leaves to be sweeter. I am going to transplant it into a big pot, but I'm renting right now and don't want to put it in the ground.

It sounds like I have two options for use: 1. let the leaves air dry for 24 hours and then grind them up into a powder or 2. just boil the leaves with my tea water. #2 Will only work when sweetening something that needs heated I guess, but that works for me anyways.

My heirloom tomatoes, mint, basil and cilantro are coming along great. I don't usually eat tomatoes on this diet, but I'll eat these! Really looking forward to Tomato/Basil/Mozzarella stacks soon. The jalapeƱos are coming much slower this year though. There is a plum tree in our backyard spilling over right now too. I think I'll round them up and give to friends what the kids and Husband don't eat.

Ever since I started reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle book we head out to the local Farmer's Market every Sunday morning. I am trying to eat more consciously and did I mention the Husband has decided to eat a Vegan Diet? Oy vay already. The kids hate the Farmers Market... I mean really hate it. First I would promise pastries or ice cream afterwards, but it just seemed to make it worse. There is a "Balloon Guy" there who wants $3 to make a balloon snake and my 5 year old turns all James Gadolfini on me when I say No every time we go. We have the regular stalls we hit up for all the green organic veggies and eggplant, cool mushroom varieties, French sausage and this week I even bought my eggs there.

To find a Farmers Market in your area, check Local Harvest. I am so lucky that there are multiple markets here open year round. What are you all growing and buying and loving this summer?


  1. Hey Amber,

    $8! You were robbed...I got one last summer for $3 and yes, used the fresh green leaves to make mojitos...a little too green. I have a stevia cookbook and the folks who wrote it use the dried green stevia powder for their recipes. I am fond of the liquid version and have stevia in the raw packets for traveling.
    I opted not to purchase a plant this year as I've amassed a goodly supply of liquid stevias-they are great in coffee, seltzer, mineral water, yogurt, ice cream, cereal...well, it's endless :-)
    Happy "steve"ing!

  2. Heather - I figured that was high! lol but that is ridiculous! Did you ever dry them too? I think my plant should last year round where I live. At least I hope it does.

  3. Planted my stevia May 1 after an "herb day" at local county extension office. Paid $4. It was growing well until a month later my Golden Retreiver decided to lay on it while I was gardening. It broke off at ground level. Brought it in and dried it. I've tasted it and its really good but have not really cooked with it yet because I was using Truvia packets. Now after watching the videos I'm more anxious to use my plant instead. Living in KS I don't think it will grow as a perennial (that's what I've been told, darn winters!) Was told just to dry it, crush to powder and use as sugar, or make tea with it. Wonder if you could make tea and then freeze it in cube form to use as needed? I also grow mint, cilantro, oregano, basil, chives, blueberries, squash, zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, leaf lettuce, snow peas & strawberries (but the birds got all of them.) Good luck with your plant-love to hear what you do with it.

  4. I grew a stevia plant last summer. We never did much with it but I showed the kids how to layer a chocolate mint leaf with a stevia leaf, roll it up and munch it. These were the kids at the nursery where I bought the plant. They all went nuts enjoying their new treat!!

  5. Amber, I read your twitter thru the blog, personally I don't know how to tweet and don't have an account set up. I would love to participate in your weight loss competition if I could. If I have to get on twitter I will. Thanks.