Cooking with stevia does require a learning curve, but since the advantages of reducing sugar in your diet (as well as eliminating your consumption of aspartame and other artificial sweeteners) are so important, it’s well worth the effort.
The most important thing to remember is not to use too much, which can result in excessive sweetness and an aftertaste. Always start with the exact amount called for in a recipe, or even a little less, then taste before you add any more. Stevia is delicious in almost any recipe using fruit or dairy products, but does present a bit of a challenge when used for baking, since it lacks sugar’s abilities to add texture, help soften batter, caramelize, enhance the browning process, and feed the fermentation of yeast. On the other hand, one of the excellent facets of stevia is that high temperatures do not affect its sweetening properties.
You may find that mixing stevia with other sweeteners, like honey or maple syrup, is a good way to start using stevia. It will enable you to reduce the amounts of these other sweeteners (as well as calories) while getting used to cooking with this wonderful herb. The recipes we’ll be posting here call for the white stevia powder or the liquid concentrate made from that powder. Other varieties of stevia can be used in cooking as well, but require different amounts. Also, keep in mind that dried or powdered leaves will not dissolve in liquids, and thus are not suitable for beverages. Here’s an easy recipe to start with.
Yield: 10 8-ounce servings
- 2 cups fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 8 cups water
- 2 teaspoons stevia liquid concentrate
- ice cubes
- lemon for garnish
- Combine all of the ingredients in a pitcher and stir until well blended
- Pour into ice-filled 10-ounce glasses, garnish with lemon slices, and serve.
From The Stevia Cookbook, copyright 1999
by Ray Sahelian and Donna Gates