Stevia, sweet leaf sugarleaf (Stevia rebaudiana) plant
Stevia is also called sweet grass, or honey grass. This plant of the Asteraceae family originally comes from South America and can reach one meter in height. There it is also used as a sweetener. In Asia it is used as a sugar substitute but in Europe so far not approved as a food or food additive (except for Switzerland). Stevia extract or stevioside is 300 times sweeter than sugar without a single calorie. Dry leaves are 40 times sweeter than sugar. There are a number of reasons to use it as food or sugar substitute:
• Stevia is a 100% natural Stevioside no calories
• It can be used as an infusion of dried or fresh leaves
• Contains the necessary energy from glucose
• It can be heated up to 200 ° C approx. Leaves or extract can be used in preparation of cakes
• Not sticky
• Prevents caries
The use of stevia is much discussed and controversial, therefore it will be interesting to see whether it is approved (such as in the US where it is approved only under the term diet).
This fast-growing plant is considered to be an annual, (although it can live for several years but does not tolerate temperatures below 8 ° C).