Stevia ~ Stevia Rebaudiana
Plants $5 each (not available)
Relatively new to the New Zealand herb scene, the green wonder that ‘aint sugar but 20 times sweeter than’. Not only that, but it doesn’t affect your blood sugar levels and has no calories. Generally, you’ll see it in white powder-ish form in your health food shop. But you can grow it!
Pop a leaf in you herb tea or use the leaves to sweeten up stewed fruit. Use fresh leaves or dried. Might pay to dry some leaves in the summer months, as this tender perennial (from South America up to the west cost of North America) acts more like an annual in our kiwi gardens. But you never know with some moddy-coddling…
Stevia prefers sandy soils (Hello Kapiti!) but needs near constant moisture in summer so mulch well. Protect it from frosts and water sparingly in winter or keep it in a pot and bring it indoors when it starts getting cooler.