Thursday, September 19, 2013

Stevia and Cold Weather

The weather is getting cooler. Morning temperature has dropped to the 50’s F and day temperature stays around 70’s. It is now time to wear the jacket in the morning. The indicator on my car dashboard shows the tires air pressure is low. I was telling Mr. Big, thinking that I would make him proud…I have checked all four tires by kicking and shaking them. They seem ok.

Mr. Big then said…huh! Kicking with your skinny foot?... He laughed.
Actually Mr. Big was right. There is no way I can feel the different. When I shook the tires with my foot, I don’t think the big tire budge at all.

Now, is also a perfect time to start working in the garden again. One of the plants that I have to bring back from the garden is the Stevia plant. Stevia is native to subtropical and tropical regions from western North America to South America, commonly known as sweet leaf or sugar leaf. This plant cannot stand the cold. Let alone the heavy snow that we normally in zone 6B receive from December to March.

As a sweetener and sugar substitute, stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar and some of its extracts may have a bitter or licorice-like aftertaste at high concentrations. Stevia is said to produce seeds, but only a small percentage of them might germinate. Planting cloned stevia is a more effective method of reproduction.

I bought my stevia plant from a local nursery for $2.99 of a 2-inch size pot. I planted them in the garden to vigorously growing over spring and summer. Last weekend, I pulled the plant out and cut the top part off. I stripped the leaves from the stem, washed and dry them.

I potted the plant and keep the plant in my kitchen where it can continue to grow over the winter. I hope the plant will survive. If not, I don't mind spending another $2.99 for another plant next year. Medicinally, the plant is said to be useful as a cardiac stimulant, for obesity, hypertension, heartburn, and to help lower uric acid levels.
I just love to learn something new. This is an interesting plant. I can use the dried leaves in my tea, coffee and even in my cooking for some sweetness.

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