Stevia: The French Alternative

Stevia: The French Alternative

Stevia is a plant that is supposed to be 2000 times as sweet as sugar but it can’t be used as a substitute for sugar. So what can you do with it?

Plant details

Common name: Stevia
Botanical name: Stevia
Climate: It grows best in the warmer zones of Australia.  
Description: A herb with long, green leaves that when chewed taste sugary.


border plant in a cottage garden in a herb garden make sugar free cordial or jam or sweet tea


well drained soil full sun a warm position in winter




Stevia will be available from most nurseries Australia wide from early March. A 10cm (4″) pot would cost around $5.

Stevia cordial recipe


  • 1 cup of concentrated stevia tea
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • 2 teaspoons citric acid
  • 1 teaspoon tartaric acid (cream of tartar)


Make the stevia tea by pouring boiling water over fresh stevia leaves and letting it stand for a couple of hours. Combine one cup of the tea with the rest of the ingredients and taste. The recipe may need to be adjusted, if the cordial is too sweet add more lemon juice and if it’s not sweet enough add more stevia tea. When you want a drink just add water like ordinary cordial.

Stevia sugar-free jam


  • 1 cup of hot stevia tea
  • 1 tablespoon of gelatine
  • 1 cup of mashed stewed fruit


Pour the hot stevia tea into a jar or bowl over the gelatine. Add the mashed stewed fruit and mix well. Leave the jam to set and spread it on bread. This sugar-free jam tastes good but it doesn’t keep for long. Store it for a few days ONLY in the fridge.

Further information

Other Jackie French ideas are available in her new book Making Money from your Garden (Earth Garden Magazine, 1997, rrp $9.95). Available from book stores and newsagencies throughout Australia.