Are you counting on calories? Getting your body toned? Do you have a diabetic sweet tooth? Or are you by any chance a hardcore vegan or an organic believer? If you wish to believe in an answer with a yes-nod, then Stevia Rebaudiana Bertoni is your go-to best friend from now on!
Stevia, often recognized as candy or sweet plant is your one-stop solution to all the struggles you get to deal with in your daily lives. It is family to the sunflowers for your organic interests! ( Now you know how the sunflower seeds taste so sweet. Genes you see!) This sweet plant is a non-nutritive sweetener which explains that its composition assures no calorie count at all.
On an interesting note, Stevia is 300 times sweeter than the normal table sugar you use in your kitchens which brings a general estimated measure which says, 2 tablespoons of stevia is equivalent to a cup of sugar! Well, nothing is perfect in every term, but stevia is more close to perfect to fit your food requirements. In the research and repeated experiments by food scientists, it was found that stevia had a sour aftertaste, which made a big difference in the standard flavour. But, through further studies, this highlighted issue was resolved. Out of 150 species of the plant, Stevia rebaudiana qualified to be the best fit as a sweetener with negligible to no aftertaste of the ingredient.
Previously, Stevia was banned as an additive ingredient by the United Nations Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) but could be sold as a dietary supplement. But as soon as 2008, the ban was taken to bed, and stevia was legalised as a sweetener and not just a supplement after it was declared GRAS(Generally Recognized As Safe) by FDA. Even before this, the plant was sold and was available in all kinds of garden shops, and people used their kitchen plants to have it as a substitute in their tea and other beverages. And even after the approval by FDA, the plant had to be purified to be used for commercial purposes and coca-cola was the first to make its patent for the purification process of stevia. Similar steps were carried by other beverage and Agri related companies like PepsiCo which used the same ingredient-Stevia but with different propositions of glycosides like rebaudioside A and stevioside to make their diet and sugar-free soft drinks.
There’s a process about how you could consider getting a stevia plant in your kitchen for use. The raw leaves aren’t advisable for direct use, and hence steps like harvesting, drying, extracting water, and purifying the leaves are a must.
Stevia can be used as a raw ingredient in anything you could think of. Unlike other major artificial sweeteners, Stevia could be used for baking as well. Name a thing, ice cream, chocolates, pies, brownies, cupcakes, you can add it to all for a heart full and guilt-free experience!
There could be certain cooking restrictions, but with a slight addition, you can fix the balance! For instance, to make a bar of chocolate, simply using stevia as an alternative to sugar won’t help. Melting properties, plastic viscosity and other relevant reasons would have to be taken care of, and hence combinations of stevia and sugar alcohol like Erythritol came into existence. But, other competitive elements like inulin and allulose are taken as a better match with stevia for making chocolate as they are completely organic and possess better properties to go ahead.
Stevia is a go-swing solution to all the diabetic sweet dwellers! All the blue supporters can now dive into their favourite picks with a simple switch of ingredients as Stevia does no harm to diabetic’s blood sugar levels nor does it bring any change in the insulin responses. Apart from the nil effect, it also adds to reducing the risk of pancreatic cancer!
Now can you hear a yes to all yummy?