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There are so many types of stevia on the market right now. Some brands of stevia extract have a slightly bitter aftertaste. Unfortunately, not all brands of stevia are created equal!
Here are the two stevia brands I use in all my recipes, as of June 2016:
- Stevia Select Pure Stevia Powder
- Trader Joe’s pure stevia powder (it’s only 1/2 as sweet as stevia select, so you need to use double the amount of Trader Joe’s stevia as the amount listed in my recipes)
The reason I use a powder and not a liquid extract is because the powder is more standardized in sweetness. The liquid extracts all have different conversion factors between brands. Also, the dry powder works better in recipes that don’t have much liquid, like chocolate and cookies.
For years, NuNaturals pure stevia powder was my go-to brand because it was a cut above the rest! It was simply the best-tasting stevia extract, with no aftertaste or funky flavors. I featured it in my recipes and cookbook because it was the only brand that my super sensitive taste buds did not find bitter.
Unexpectedly, the NuNaturals company altered their formulation in May of 2013. Sadly, the new NuNaturals stevia is definitely bitter, and markedly less sweet than the old stuff. Late last year, I tried KAL “Natural” pure stevia powder, and enjoyed it so much that it was my next stevia of choice for recipes on this blog. However, the manufacturer changed their stevia formulation shortly after I recommended the product to readers!
To find out why stevia manufacturers were changing their formulations, I researched the issue, and it came to light that new FDA labeling guidelines were at the heart of the matter. For years, stevia had been labeled as a “supplement.” Coca-Cola and Cargill, the manufacturers of Truvia, pushed for their purified form of stevia extract to gain approval as a “food additive.” To add their sweetener to products, the manufacturer needed to get their stevia formulation labeled as a “food additive.”
The change in FDA regulations meant that stevia extracts classified as food additives could be sold on grocery store shelves, making them more profitable to produce. Consequently, some stevia manufacturers changed their product to contain 100% rebaudioside A (“rebiana” or “Reb A”). Reb A is just one flavor compound of the stevia plant. As a result, stevia products containing solely Reb A can taste more bitter than stevia extracts containing a mixture of steviosides.
How Do You Bake With Stevia?
The powder extract is best for baking, and the liquid extract is ideal for adding to beverages like tea, coffee and smoothies. You will need to use twice the amount of Trader Joe’s stevia in recipes listed on the blog and in the cookbook. My recipes created in 2014 and later list which brand of stevia was tested in them. Remember to let your tongue be your guide when it comes to sweetening your own sugar-free recipes! It’s best to start with too little, then work up to the desired level of sweetness.
That tiny spoon with the stevia spilling over the edge is 1/64 of a teaspoon! I use this colorful mini spoon set set by Pourfect to measure out my stevia for coffee and recipes. It’s the only complete set I’ve found with such tiny increments! Just don’t let any of your spoons get caught in the disposal. Can you tell, from looking at the photo, that I already learned that lesson?
Do you have questions about stevia? Post ’em below!