Do you know Stevia? This bush has great culinary and medicinal properties, and you can also grow it in your home. For this reason, it is being widely used at the Spanish table.
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This plant (stevia rebaurdiana Breton) does not reach a meter in height and reproduces especially in Central and South America; however, this does not prevent you from growing it in our country because it easily adapts to any environment. By virtue of this, you do not need a purely fertile ground. Although it has some resistance to very high temperatures, its cultivation in Spain has been successful. Incredible! You can plant it in your house without any problem and dispose of it whenever you want.
Stevia can easily replace sugar and sweeten up to 200 times more; however, this condition does not make it harmful like processed sugar, on the contrary, its caloric contribution to the body is zero, much less does it produce saturated fats.
This plant generates carbohydrates, fats or proteins; it contains vitamin A, B, E and components such as phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, sodium and potassium among others.
Even for its sweetening power it acts against diabetes, stevia stimulates the production of insulin; it even acts as a diuretic for diabetics themselves. But the most interesting and important thing is that it acts against the disease, it also prevents it.
On the other hand, among the nobility of this plant you will find that it strengthens the immune system because it regulates blood pressure. In addition, it acts as a digestion stimulant; it is a great antioxidant, a strong healing agent and bactericide. You can also use it as toothpaste to remove bacterial plaque and for skin care. These are its benefits.
The uses of Stevia vary according to its purpose or taste of the user. You can use it as dehydrated or fresh leaves; in any case it has the same benefit. To get it, in herbalists or online.
Instructions for which to plant, how and when
Growing Stevia is simple and uncomplicated.
- In the first place you need a sandy soil and not too fertile; Make sure it has good drainage to promote its growth. Otherwise, a pot would be enough to plant up to two stems, but it depends on your needs.
- It is advisable to plant the stems without flower any higher than 10 cm. (cuttings) to root, instead of using the seeds.
- Remove the leaves at the end of the stem for easy burial, then press down on the soil with your hand to compact it.
- Then, you should not expose it directly to the sun or to air currents, before 30 days, because the sun dehydrates it and can prevent the development of its roots. The soil should be moist until the first leaves appear, which indicates that it already has roots. Afterwards, you can follow the natural process of development (a lot of light and little water) which is the right environment.
- Only water it when you see that the soil is not wet.
- If you grow different stems, you must leave a distance between them.
Crop care varies by season.
- In the summer you should water it every. The optimum temperature for growth is approximately 24°C.
- During the spring and autumn you should water it every 2 or 3 days, but do not saturate it with water, only when the soil is dry or when the wind is strong.
- During the winter, due to the climatic condition, the watering of the plant is minimal to prevent the roots from rotting. You must protect them inside the house or protect them with thermal blankets. Remember to take care of the root so that another new plant sprouts and do not repeat the entire cultivation process.
- Stevia growth is best done in early summer with strong sunlight and this contributes to its greatest sweetness.
- This plant blooms at the beginning of autumn. Its flowers are white and clear.
- If you have organic fertilizer, you should only use it once a year during the spring.
- You can do without the organic fertilizer, and use mineral or chemical fertilizer but not in excess, because it damages the growth of the plant; rather its use is recommended every 50 or 60 days when you have already transplanted it. The use of this type of fertilizer requires greater care and attention in the development of the plant.
- Don’t worry about pesticides because she doesn’t suffer from any pests or diseases. However, there are cases in which it is affected as it happens with other similar herbs, so there must be preventive control.
- When the plant has completed its development, handle it very carefully, because stevia is very
- The suitable time for the harvest is in September and the beginning of October.
- Harvest it completely when the flowers are already sprouting, not when they are fully open because the plant will then have a bitter taste; otherwise, don’t expect more than 5 flowers to open.
- To remove its leaves, preferably use pruning shears.
- Harvest in the morning hours because that is where its highest concentration of sugar is found.
- Prune it in autumn and leave it at a height of 10cm. You can dry the leaves at home, direct sunlight is not necessary, and make sure it has the right temperature.
What do you need for which plant, how and when?
- You can find the manure, compost or sandbags prepared in any nursery.
- Spray or sprinkler.
- Pots with drainage.
- Gardening scissors.
- Thermal blankets.
Tips for which to plant, how and when
- We recommend the use of a spray to spray the plant in seasons of high temperatures.
- Stevia is sensitive to high temperatures and dehydrates quickly, causing its leaves to decay; but when watering them they recover quickly.
- If you want to keep it throughout the year, you must transplant it to a permanent place to achieve its maximum growth.
- If the stevia is more than 3 years old, its productive capacity is reduced, I advise you to replace it.
- Stevia sprouts should be planted immediately, otherwise keep them in a vase with water.
- Organic fertilizer will always be better than chemical fertilizer because stevia does not need more nutrients since it can be planted in a garden of common plants.
- As stevia does not require intense light, you can place it near the window. I recommend that you keep it in the house in winter; the heating of the house will allow you to maintain a constant temperature to survive.
- Do not insist on growing stevia in high temperatures because you run the risk of the plant dying. Wait for the winter season to pass.
- If you want to get the most concentrated stevia nutrients, prune it before flowering.
- You can use the oven to help dry or dehydrate them. Before I recommend crushing them to release their sweetening power, and they remain that way for years.
- To store them, use an airtight container.
- A single leaf is enough to sweeten any infusion, tea and coffee.
- You can use it as an ingredient in sauces and it will turn sweet and sour, as a salad dressing.
- Stevia is appropriate in the preparation of desserts (jams, sweets, ice cream), but in less quantity, because its sweetness intensifies when baked.
- It can be found processed in powder or liquid. In powder, the sweetness is even greater than natural.
- To make a homemade extract you can boil 500ml of water. You remove it from the heat and pour it into a glass jar and add 25 gr. Of finely chopped dry leaves. If you want 2 glasses you must use ¼ cup of stevia. Then you cover the infusion and let it rest In the morning strain the infusion that has turned dark green. Let it rest and store it in a closed bottle in the fridge. A tablespoon of this infusion is similar to the tablespoon you give coffee to sweeten with sugar.
- It can be mixed with spices like cinnamon. It also combines very well with sugar, panel and molasses.
- You can prepare a molasses if you boil the stevia in water over low heat until it becomes something similar to syrup. Well preserved, it can last for several months. There are those who make an infusion by adding brandy or vodka; then they strain it and boil it over a low heat until they obtain a molasses and give it a use similar to that of cane syrup.
- You should know that its sweetness varies depending on its quality. On the other hand, when it is used in dessert preparations, it’s sweetening power increases when these are consumed one day after they are preserved for several days.
The use of stevia is approved by medicine. However, each organism reacts differently and some show allergic reactions to some herbs. You should ask your doctor before using it therapeutically, especially if you are diabetic or pregnant. The doctor will give you better suggestions for its use.