You may have noticed that I use green stevia powder in almost all of my dessert recipes and you may be thinking, “What’s up with that?” I mean, green stevia is not the best-tasting sweetener and it can even taste bitter. However, the key to using green stevia is to use it in combination with other sweeteners like agave, dates, honey, and raisins. And because green stevia is so sweet, it will reduce the amount of expensive, traditional sweeteners (e.g. agave) that you use in your recipes, which saves you money in the long run.
Here is an excerpt from Raw Foods on a Budget, describing the benefits of
green stevia powder:
Green stevia powder. Also known as sweet leaf, stevia is a shrub native to Paraguay that has been used for centuries as a sweetener in herbal and medicinal teas. Though uncommon in the United States, stevia is used in Asia, South America, and some European countries. It even accounts for 40% of all the sweeteners sold in Japan (University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension, 2010). In addition, stevia is unlike many sweeteners in that it doesn’t promote dental cavities or raise blood glucose levels. Yay!
Personally, I love using stevia in my own raw vegan recipes because it has a long-lasting sweetness which is useful in frozen recipes like ice cream and sorbet. Freezing temperatures tend to reduce the sweet taste of many sweeteners like agave and honey, so you end up using a lot. This is why you will find that almost all of the ice cream and sorbet recipes in this book have a little stevia in them.
Stevia also does a good job of extending the agave you already have. For example, last winter I drank a lot of tea lattes. The problem was that I would put 3 teaspoons of agave in each 12 ounce cup of tea. This quickly became very expensive since I would drink 3-4 cups of tea per day. So, I came up with the idea that maybe I could add stevia to my tea in addition to agave to reduce my overall agave usage. I didn’t know what to expect because I was not a big stevia lover. Man, was I surprised! The green stevia powder that I purchased helped me reduce my agave usage by 66%! Now, I only use 1 tsp of agave in my cup of tea and it tastes the same! And I only have to buy agave once a month, whereas I used to buy it every 1-2 weeks. Try your own “stevia” experiment at home! Make a cup of lemonade and measure the amount of honey or agave you add it to. Then make another cup of lemonade and add several pinches of stevia before adding honey or agave. Now compare how much traditional sweetener you used in both lemonades.
You may be resistant to the idea of using stevia in your recipes because you have tasted it before and didn’t like it. However, keep a few things in mind. I am recommending that you use green stevia powder and not the white stevia that is seen most often in the store. Stevia that is green is just ground up stevia leaves, whereas stevia that is white has been processed and often contains other ingredients. In my experience, white stevia tastes more bitter than green stevia. Though they both can taste bitter when used in large amounts. In most of my recipes, I use no more than 1/8 teaspoon because stevia is so sweet. In addition, I recommend that you use partial substitution when it comes to stevia. Unless you really like stevia, you will find that stevia has a different kind of sweetness than traditional sweeteners. This is because stevia does not contain any sugars like fructose or glucose and lacks the ability to add texture to a recipe in the way that dates, agave, and honey do. For these reasons, stevia does not work well alone. However, it works wonders when used in combination with traditional sweeteners. Sometimes, I even pour stevia into my agave bottles so that it’s already mixed in and ready to use when I need it.
You can find green stevia powder at local herb stores and some health food stores, or you can purchase it online. Here is a link to the green stevia powder that I use in my recipes. I have had this bag of stevia for about 4 months now and it will probably last me for 1-2 more years.
Ignore the reviews, it is a really good product.