Stevia botanical sweetener

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David Bracey

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Stevia botanical sweetener
« on: October 28, 2011, 08:55:36 PM »
Regulatory approval of Steviol glycoside with the European Parliament is expected soon after the European Food and Safety Authority returned a positive safety assessment for its use as a food additive last April.  Steviol is the first botanical sweetener to be approved by the EU.  We can expect a flood of new products such as soft drinks, chocholate, ice cream, cakes, biscuits containing steviol this autumn/winter.

Stevia rebaudianais is a member of the Compostaea and native to South America, it is grown for its sweet leaves. As a sweetener and/or sugar substitute stevia's taste has a slower onset and longer duration than that of sugar. It is said to be 300 times sweeter than sucrose. Stevia was reviewed in the MGS Science Newsletter October 2010.
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 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

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MikeHardman

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2011, 07:23:36 AM »
[deleted]
« Last Edit: October 31, 2011, 06:12:25 AM by MikeHardman »
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

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Alisdair

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2011, 07:30:54 AM »
Stevia has up to now been banned as a food additive in the UK and other countries, not because it was known to be dangerous but because there were concerns that it was not known to be safe.
The current views of the UK Food Standards Agency can be seen by clicking here.
Given the potency of the active ingredient the amounts permitted in foodstuffs will be very strictly controlled. As the plant itself can contain such large amounts of it, it might perhaps be unwise for people to rush into growing their own stevia to use as a sweetener themselves.
« Last Edit: October 29, 2011, 07:33:55 AM by Alisdair »
Alisdair Aird
Gardens in SE England (Sussex); also coastal Southern Greece, and (in a very small way) South West France; MGS member (and former president); vice chairman RHS Lily Group, past chairman Cyclamen Society

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MikeHardman

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener - EU approval notice 12nov11
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2011, 09:07:18 AM »
"The regulation permitting the sale and use of steviol glycosides has now been published in the Official Journal of the European Union as of November 12th.  Twenty calendar days following this publication date, the regulation will enter into force and will be binding in its entirety and directly applicable in the EU Member States, allowing for sale of products formulated with steviol glycosides as early as December 2nd."
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

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ritamax

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #4 on: March 07, 2012, 08:18:47 PM »
The plant has been in sale since last year in Switzerland. There are opinions, that it would be safer to use the leaves in a small quantity (for example to sweeten drinks) as to use the Stevia sweeteners, as the extraction process makes the product "less healthy". Do you know about this? There are quite a lot of negative opinions in internet.
Hobbygardener (MGS member) with a rooftop garden in Basel and a garden on heavy clay with sand 600m from seaside in Costa Blanca South (precipitation 300mm), learning to garden waterwise

David Bracey

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2012, 09:51:58 PM »
"In 1900, the Paraguayan chemist Ovidio Rebaudi, after whom Bertoni named the plant, studied the major characteristics of stevia. He succeeded in isolating two types of substances (both glycosides): one extremely sweet and the other bitter, resembling a digestive appetizer. Of the two, it was the sweetening principle that attracted more attention at that time, as is still true today.

A combined process........ is traditionally used to extract the glycosides from stevia. However, the glycosidic extract has a pronounced bitter aftertaste that is responsible for many of the restrictions on the use of stevia as a sweetener."

Braz. J. Chem. Eng. vol.17 n.3 São Paulo Sept. 2000

I personally do not like the after taste of Stevia and try not to use it, but only for this reason.

Some toxicological work on the extract has had some adverse effects of the fertility of male rats................perhaps this is what the fuss about.  David

MGS member.

 I have gardened in sub-tropical Florida, maritime UK, continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin, France. Of the 4 I have found that the most difficult climate for gardening is the latter.

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JTh

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2012, 11:57:34 PM »
Today I have sown seeds of both Stevia rebaudiana and Lippia dulcis (s. Phyla dulcis), the latter is supposed to be at least three time sweeter than Stevia (1000 times sweeter than sugar). If I am lucky and the plants survive, I'll get a chance to taste them, I have no idea what they are like.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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ritamax

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2012, 07:32:20 PM »
I will try to buy the stevia plant, as it is commonly available here. It has some bitterness and some hint of licorice taste. If you use it with other sweeteners as honey, maple syrup or sugar and in sourly drinks or dairy products it tastes less bitter. Good luck with the seeds! 
Hobbygardener (MGS member) with a rooftop garden in Basel and a garden on heavy clay with sand 600m from seaside in Costa Blanca South (precipitation 300mm), learning to garden waterwise

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JTh

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2012, 07:38:21 PM »
My consumption of sugar and sweets is rather limited, I am just sowing them out of curiosity to see what the plants are like and how they taste.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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ritamax

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2012, 08:46:07 AM »
My stevia plant has grown very well in a couple of months, is a very healthy upright plant. One leaf is enough to sweeten any hot drink without any bitter taste as in the stevia sweeteners sold now widely. I haven't tried it for cooking, though.
Hobbygardener (MGS member) with a rooftop garden in Basel and a garden on heavy clay with sand 600m from seaside in Costa Blanca South (precipitation 300mm), learning to garden waterwise

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MikeHardman

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2012, 11:10:14 AM »
Looks very healthy, Rita
Mike
Geologist by Uni training, IT consultant, Referee for Viola for Botanical Society of the British Isles, commissioned author and photographer on Viola for RHS (Enc. of Perennials, The Garden, The Plantsman).
I garden near Polis, Cyprus, 100m alt., on marl, but have gardened mainly in S.England

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JTh

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2012, 04:41:45 PM »
Yours is much larger that mine, Rita, I have planted a few outside and kept some in the greenhouse in Oslo, I'll see how many I'll have left when I am back from Greece at the end of July. This year the snails and slugs are worse than ever.

The taste was definitely sweet, but I have not found any particular use for the leaves yet.
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.

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ritamax

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2012, 12:28:15 PM »
I use one or two leaves to sweeten all kinds of herbal drinks, which are sometimes a bit bitter. I brew herbal teas from many different non-toxic plants from the garden. No other use, yet. Supposed to be good for people with insuline problems balancing blood sugar. We don't have many slugs and snails in Basel - too dry. Aphids are a constant problem, but they don't like Stevia. In Oslo Stevia will probably do better in a greenhouse, as it is not considered hardy.
Hobbygardener (MGS member) with a rooftop garden in Basel and a garden on heavy clay with sand 600m from seaside in Costa Blanca South (precipitation 300mm), learning to garden waterwise

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JTh

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Re: Stevia botanical sweetener
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2012, 03:16:18 PM »
I left most of the plants in the greenhouse, but also few outside. This summer has not been particularly hot yet, so it will be a wonder if those outside will be there when I return
Retired veterinary surgeon by training with a PhD in parasitology,  but worked as a virologist since 1992.
Member of the MGS  since 2004. Gardening in Oslo and to a limited extent in Halkidiki, Greece.