Flutterby™! : stevia

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2007-08-27 15:45:00.491466+00 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

Has anyone else out there played with stevia, and does anyone else taste it primarily as bitter? Charlene's been playing with various diet things, and yesterday I made a faux custard (agar agar, arrow root, yellow squash(?), among other things), attempting to follow a recipe religiously. We ended up enjoying the unsweetened version, hating the stevia version. I think I'm more sensitive to the flavor than Charlene is, but it just doesn't taste sweet to me.

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-08-27 15:54:24.129039+00 by: jeff

I tried it for awhile back in 2002, and didn't like it.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-08-27 16:22:51.212982+00 by: ebradway

Haven't played much with Stevia yet. I prefer agave nectar. I've used psyllium husks as well. Not as sweet and very absorbent.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-08-27 16:28:05.426627+00 by: Dan Lyke

I believe that Stevia is roughly the natural foods analogue to aspartame or some of those other calorie free sweeteners. To me it has roughly the same aftertaste, and it hits my mouth like it's triggering some of the sweet taste receptors and not others.

I'm not so concerned about calories, but Charlene's trying to keep 'em low.

I haven't played with psyllium yet, but a quick search shows me I may have to. Non-starch ways to create gels are cool.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-08-27 19:21:49.234509+00 by: ebradway

Yep. Stevia is basically a zero-calorie, plant-based sweetener. It's currently the rage, even in more traditional venues. Coke is trying to find ways to mass-produce it for Diet Coke and evidently it's been in Diet Coke in Japan for years (yes - it's big in Japan...).

Personally, I find any sweetener that lacks calories rather confusing to my system. I realized years ago that Diet Coke increased my appetite and ultimately led to me eating more food. My body reacted to the sweetness by anticipating a load of carbs. When the carbs weren't delivered, I felt like I was suffering a sugar crash.

Lately, I've had less and less tolerance for refined sugars. I now use agave nectar and honey exclusively and dread those times when I'm stuck with a packet of the white powdery stuff.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-08-27 19:47:37.803523+00 by: Dan Lyke

I've been playing a bit with barley malt syrup, although some of the other overtones in the versions I've played with are a bit strong, and, depending on what direction I go, I may use rice syrup as a maltose source for home-made energy drinks and bars.

Agave nectar and honey both have super high fructose contents (although sources on the agave vary from a higher fructose to glucose ratio than high fructose corn syrup to roughly in-line with table sugar, so I'm still searching for good references), which makes them less appealing to me from a derived energy standpoint, and there's the probable link to high cholesterol from fructose strong sugars. After poking around for a bit, I'm actually just fine with refined sugar from a health standpoint, but I'd rather not make my diet too high in anything terribly calorie rich for its own sake.

Except when I'm burning more energy than I'm replacing and trying to do everything I can to keep those pedals turning. And from a flavor standpoint, the less refined sugars have a much richer palette.

However, the notion of a dessert that wouldn't spike the hell out of my blood sugar and give me a late night energy rush (with the associated comedown the next day, if I didn't drink enough water to go with it) appeals.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-14 03:52:15.219106+00 by: Shawn

I was first introduced to Stevia when we came across the plant in the herb section of a local nursery. We bought it because we liked the taste of the leaves - tasted pretty sweet to us.

Never got around to cooking with it (and haven't tried the packaged/processed stuff we see on the store shelves), but I always enjoyed going out on the deck and snapping off some when I was in the mood for something sweet.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-14 12:29:12.950025+00 by: Dan Lyke

Hmmm... That sounds like a cool thing to have growing. Thanks, I'll try to track a plant down just for giggles.