Different Forms Of Stevia
Stevia is the latest sugar-alternative to hit the market. It comes from the leafy shrub called Stevia Rebaudiana and it was first discovered in Paraguay. Once its sweet properties were discovered, cultivation of commercial crops spread mostly throughout Asia. The largest Stevia supplier is China with nearly 80% of the worlds commercial product. Seedlings and clippings from Paraguay, where the plant originated, are used to cultivate the commercial plants.
There are several forms processed from the leaves of the plant:
Whole leaves- A Stevia supplier starts here to get the forms below. But, some people like to chew on unprocessed leaves for the very potent sweet taste.
Dried leaves- This process releases even more of the sweetness in the leaf. After the leaves are dried, they are crushed and often put into tea bags. The leaves can also be ground into a finer substance that can be used as a spice.
Extracts- The leaves are dried, refined and processed with a water and alcohol mix. The glycocides are drawn out and processed to form a crystallized substance made up of mostly steviosides, the sweetest part of the leaves makeup.
Liquid concentrates- The concentrates are derived from boiling the leaves in water. At the right consistency, it becomes a syrupy black concentrate. Steeping the leaves in a mixture of water and alcohol also form a concentrate. An extract can also be diluted in water and stored for preservation.
Though China is the largest Stevia supplier in all its forms, 10 to 15% is grown and cultivated in South America. As long as the climate is right- a sub-tropical environment with a median temperature of 75 degrees and humid-anyone can grow his own sweet shrub. With its growing popularity, it is likely that others will jump on the bandwagon and increase the worlds supply.
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Whatever your business - dietary supplements, functional foods, OTC, cosmetics, beverages or pet and livestock ingredients - AHD has the ingredients to meet your needs. For information on the chia products, contact AHD via our website at www.ahdintl.com/Products_Stevia.html or telephone our sales department at 404-233-4022.