Similar to plant sweeteners such as sucrose, stevia extracted from stevia is also in powder form. The extraction process involves soaking dried plant leaves like tea leaves, and then separating or purifying the sweetest ingredients, a scientific term called stevioside. The extraction of stevioside is by soaking dried stevia leaves in water, filtering to separate the liquid from the leaves and stems, and further purifying it with water or food-grade alcohol. It is a completely traditional plant extraction method. The sweet ingredients will not be destroyed or changed during the whole process.
Stevioside has been put into use in hundreds of foods and beverages in the world. In China, stevia is used as a sweetener for tea, soft drinks, fruit juices, yogurt, and flavored water. Steviosides can also be used in healthy snacks, cereals, salad dressings, tomato pastes, chewing gums, canned fruits and marmalades, desserts, soy milk, granola and energy bars, baked goods, etc., and as table sweeteners.
Stevioside can now be provided to consumers in a variety of ways. Sometimes as the only sweetener in the product, sometimes mixed with other zero-calorie sweeteners. It is usually added to low-calorie products by mixing with sucrose.