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Stevia (Sugar Bush)

Stevia is an ornamental, but controversial, plant. It is a great indoor plant. The tender perennial is a native of Paraguay and has been used for centuries as a non-caloric flavor enhancer. From the aster family, this shrub contains natural compounds called steviosides and rebaudioside A that some claim is 50 to 400 times sweeter than sugar. Stevia plants require a well-drained, moist soil. Grows 12" tall.

Harvest the leaves when the flowers start to form. Allowing the flowers to bloom will make the leaves bitter or dirty tasting. Cut the whole plant off at the base and hang the plant upside down in a dark, drafty, dry area for 2 to 4 days. Drying in the oven or dehydrator is not recommended.

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