Can I Use Stevia Instead of Sugar for Canning?
Stevia, an all natural no calorie sweetener, can be used in canning. Unlike other no-calorie sweeteners, stevia can be heated up to 400 degrees F without losing its properties. This makes it ideal for canning, where you need to raise the temperature of the food in order to preserve it. If you are using an old recipe that calls for sugar, you will need to make a few adjustments to the recipe when using stevia.
Substitute stevia for sugar in your recipe. Generally, you replace 1 cup of sugar with 1 tsp. liquid stevia, 1/2 tsp. powdered stevia or about 20 stevia packets. Check the stevia box for more precise substitutions of your brand.
Add a universal pectin. Universal, or no sugar added, pectins are designed for canning recipes that have little or no sugar in them. If your recipe calls for pectin simply switch to a universal pectin. Many recipes call to mix pectin directly with the fruit. Instead, mix the pectin with approximately 1/4 the amount of stevia the recipe calls for. Add the stevia/pectin mixture to the fruit to prevent lumping.
Add about 1/4 cup of lemon or lime juice to your recipe. Stevia does not bring out the flavor of your fruits and vegetables as well as sugar does. The lemon or lime juice will help enhance the flavor. This should be added when you add the pectin.
Follow the directions on your canning recipe. The rest of your canning recipe should be fine, switching stevia for sugar in proper amounts.
- Cooking with stevia can cause your jams or jellies to be a little runnier than with sugar. To counteract this, add a little more universal pectin.
- Your sealed jams or jellies should be good for up to a year on the shelf. Any jar that did not seal well should be stored in the fridge or the freezer after cooling.
- Jams and jellies that do not seal properly will spoil quicker with stevia than with sugar, since stevia does not have the same preservative properties as sugar.
Jacqueline Gonzales is a professional writer specializing in education, family and home topics for various home and garden websites. Gonzales is working on her first romance novel.
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