How to make your own Stevia Sweetner
Making liquid stevia extract at home is a simple process. It is similar to making many herbal tinctures. This method will help you extract the most sweetness with the least residual aftertaste.
If you harvest your stevia at home, begin by washing your cuttings to remove dirt. Remove the leaves from the stem. The leaves are what contain the sweet-tasting glycosides. Let them dry in the sun or a dehydrator until crisp. Using a knife chop your dried stevia leaves finely. Do not powder your leaves as the powder iwill be hard to filter later and creates a residue that settles at the bottom of your finished extract.
In lieu of having a stevia plant, dried stevia leaves can be purchased most in places that sell herbs.
Place your crushed stevia leaves in a glass jar, then pour vodka over them to coat. Vodka is used instead of water to extract the glycosides. Youíll get a much sweeter end result this way. Opt for vodka over other liquors because itís flavorless and cheap.
Put the lid on your jar, shake it, and let it sit for 24-36 hours. Leaving it to sit for longer will result in a more bitter taste.
Next, filter the leaves by pouring the extract through a coffee filter or cheesecloth.
At this point, you have two options.
1) Keep the alcohol-containing liquid stevia extract. To do this, transfer into a colored glass bottle (for light reduction), and store in a room temperature away from direct light (can be store for up to 4 years).
2) Remove the alcohol from the liquid stevia extract. To do this, gently heat the extract over low-heat for 20-30 minutes. DO NOT BOIL. If your extract comes to a boil, you will overheat the glycosides and destroy the sweet taste. The longer you heat the extract, the thicker and more syrup-like it will become. Transfer into a colored glass tincture bottle and store in your refrigerator for up to 3 months.