Originating from the warm climates of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina, Stevia, a member of the chrysanthemum family, has been a cornerstone of indigenous culinary traditions for centuries. The Stevia rebaudiana plant, one of nearly 250 species native to the Americas, has captured global attention due to its sweet leaves. These vibrant green leaves, used both fresh and dried, yield a potent sweetness – a sweetness so intense that it can be up to 300 times that of standard table sugar, but with practically no calories.
Dating back to the 16th century, stevia leaves have been ground into a fine powder and used as a sweetener. They've played a crucial role in enhancing the flavor profiles of various foods, from sauces to beverages. The leaves can also be converted into a sweet syrup, ideal for drizzling over desserts or pancakes, or used to garnish dishes, adding a touch of sweetness and an attractive green hue. The versatility of stevia is such that the sweetener derived from its leaves is now a common sight in supermarkets and kitchens around the world.
Given its intense sweetness, using stevia is often a practice of moderation. A small amount goes a long way in replicating the sweetness of sugar, making it a preferred choice for those seeking to reduce their sugar intake or for individuals managing specific dietary needs. Besides its culinary value, stevia has also been recognized for potential health benefits, such as potentially aiding in blood sugar regulation, confirming its esteemed position in both culinary and wellness circles.
Botanical Name: Stevia Rebaudiana
Also known as: Stevia Leaves, Sweetleaf, Sugarleaf, Sweet Herb, Honey Yerba, Candy Leaf, Azucacaa, Caa-he-é, Erva Doce, Eira-Caa, Capim Doce, Ka'a He'e, Capim Santo, Erva Doce, Sweet Leaf, Sweet Herb, Honey Leaf, Honey Yerba, Candy Leaf, Azucacaa, Caa-he-é, Erva Doce, Eira-Caa, Capim Doce, Ka'a He'e, Capim Santo