I have grown stevia a few years back just for fun and have munched on its freshly harvested leaves a few times. I find it is a very neutral tasting sweetness, unlike all the chemical sweeteners whose taste reminds me of toothpaste and chewing gum. Let's not even mention Splenda - if you knew how and of what it is made, you wouldn't touch it (let's just say if I had it in my soil, I would get it decontaminated).
I am now ready to try stevia in my food. I still have too much added sugar and would like to replace at least part of that by stevia. I need your advice.
First off, what kind of stevia product is best? There is a store nearby that sells shredded leaves (which I would not use much as it would make the food look dirty), powder and liquid extract, the latter being the most tempting to me. It is a colorless liquid that would be easier to incorporate into foods given that it is liquid and would be undetectable by the human eye. Should I go with that?
Also, how do you use stevia? Do you just replace all of the sugar you use, including in cakes and cookies (unless of course the cake's texture depends on sugar)? Do you use stevia only for certain things? If yes, what is stevia good for and when is it a bad choice?
I have two teaspoonfuls of sugar in my coffee every morning, and when I have black tea, I like it with three teaspoonfuls, although I sometimes make a big effort and use only two and a half. Can I use stevia to replace that?
Also, is there a big difference in taste when compared to regular sugar, or is it just a subtle difference?
Please, help. I can really see how stevia could make a big difference for me, but I am the kind of person who likes to stick to the real deal and has trouble accepting the alternative.
I hate water and would like to add a little taste to it to bring myself to drink it, but I don't want to be drinking sugar all day long. Would a squeeze of lemon juice and a drop of liquid stevia be a good incentive to start drinking water?