Do you want to know how to make liquid stevia extract at home? Turns out, it’s a simple process, similar to making many herbal tinctures. The difference, though, is that when you make liquid stevia extract, you want it to taste sweet. I’ve tried various methods for making liquid stevia extract, and most create something too bitter or too “grassy.” This method will help you extract the most sweetness with the least residual aftertaste.
Why would you want to make liquid stevia extract instead of buying it at the store? First, it’s cheap! Second, you feel like you’ve accomplished something. And third, you know what’s in it. The refined, white powder version of stevia remains a mystery, often containing maltodextrin (corn) or undisclosed “natural flavors.” And while some store bought liquid stevia extracts may be made from the stevia plant, others are made using the refined stevia. Unfortunately, there’s almost no way to tell which is which. So, if you want to be certain that you’re getting a healthy, natural sweetener, you need to learn how to make liquid stevia extract at home.
How To Make Liquid Stevia Extract
- dried stevia leaves, chopped finely (where to buy dried stevia leaves)
- glass jar with a lid
If you harvest your stevia at home, begin by washing your cuttings to remove dirt. Remove the leaves from the stem, as the leaves are what contains the sweet-tasting glycosides. Let them dry in the sun or a dehydrator until crisp. Then, using a knife chop your dried stevia leaves finely. Do not powder your leaves as the powder is hard to filter out later and creates a residue that settles at the bottom of your finished extract.
If you don’t have a stevia plant, don’t worry. You can find dried stevia leaves just about anywhere you can buy herbs. (See where to buy stevia here.)
Place your crushed stevia leaves in a glass jar, then pour vodka over them to coat. We are using vodka instead of water to extract the glycosides because we’ll get a much sweeter end result this way. Opt for vodka over other liquors because it’s flavorless and cheap.
Put the lid on your jar, shake it up, and let it sit on your counter for 24-36 hours. Don’t let it sit for longer than 36 hours, as it will turn more bitter. I used to make a liquid stevia extract the same way that I made other herbal tinctures, letting it sit for weeks. While this may improve the medicinal quality of the extract, it sacrificed a lot of sweetness to do it.
Next, filter out the leaves. You can do this 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, dark place for up to 2-4 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. I’ve found that on my electric stove top on low, 20 minutes is about ideal. Transfer into a colored glass tincture bottle and store in your refrigerator for up to 3 months.
You will only need a drop or two of your liquid stevia extract at a time to sweeten a beverage, so I recommend storing it in an amber glass tincture bottle with a dropper (like these).
Now you know how to make liquid stevia extract! Pretty easy, right?
(photo credits: top by michellekc, lower by land_camera)