Use as Sweetener
The flavour 'sweet' is an inherent human weakness. For centuries, all that was available to our ancestors as sweets were sweet fruit and honey. Then came sugar beet, sugar cane and synthetic sweeteners.
In the European industrial nations today we have a sugar usage of about 130g per head, per day. The over consumption of sugar and lack of exercise cause many well known illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes. There is a very controversial debate about the possible risks of synthetic sweeteners such as Aspertame, which are being added to ready meals and soft drinks.
Therefore it is understandable that consumers are looking for a sweetener that tastes acceptable while having no negative side effects to their health. Hence the interest in an alternative solution which has been used for hundreds of years to sweeten food and drink in South America and for decades in Asia: Stevia rebaudiana
The use of Stevia rebaudiana and its sweet contents (steviol glycosides) as a sweetener is simple and has various advantages over other types of sweeteners:
• It is a completely natural non-synthetic product;
• steviol glycoside (the sweetener) contains absolutely no calories;
• the leaves can be used in their natural state;
• thanks to its enormous sweetening power, only small quantities need to be used;
• the plant is non-toxic;
• the leaves as well as the pure steviol glycoside can be cooked and used for baking ;
• no aftertaste or bitterness at optimal dosage;
• stable when heated up to 200 degrees;
• non fermentative;
• flavour enhancing;
• clinically tested and frequently used by humans without negative effect;
• ideal, non-addictive sweetener for children;
• shelf life of years;
• can be mixed with other sweeteners with remarkable enhancing effects.
Many different uses of Stevia are already well-known: as table sugar, in soft drinks, pastry, pickles, tobacco products, candy, jam, yoghurt, chewing gum, sorbets...
The dried leaves of Stevia are about 40 times sweeter than sugar. The high sweetening power of steviol glycoside is remarkable. It is about 300 times that of sugar, at optimal dosage. Therefore one must check the taste when preparing food in the kitchen. The industry using steviol glycoside in ready meals measures the required amounts extremely carefully according to the optimal dosage.
The flavour characteristics of steviol glycoside are dependent on the purity and concentration of Rebaudiosid A.
Unlike sugar, steviol glycoside cannot preserve foods (e.g. jam). Browning during baking and caramelising does not happen. Of course steviol glycosides can not be metabolised through yeast.
Some bakery products such as sponge cannot be made since it lacks the mass of the sugar. In such cases, additives like pre-biotic ballast help.
The consumer can already find recipes in English and German.