People are always looking out for sugar substitutes so that they can enjoy their beverages without any overbearing guilt. Such a search might lead them to stevia, something which is considered to be the healthiest sugar alternative.
Probably, you use Stevia as an alternative sweetener to control glucose levels or lose weight. But, after cleaning your pantry, you found a pack of Stevia approaching its expiration, and at that moment, you wonder: Does Stevia Go Bad? What is Its Shelf-Life? What are the Best Storage Conditions? What are the Possible Spoilage Signs?
These are some of the questions that trouble the frequent users of Stevia. So, if you are also a frequent user of Stevia, it becomes essential to find answers to these questions, and we have them in the following article.
How Long Can Stevia Last?
Users don’t have to fret about going bad as it has a decent shelf-life when it comes to Stevia. It will remain good and edible until you finish it. The Stevia powder or liquid purchased from stores comes with a use-by date.
However, the use-by date on the label is not the expiry date as it tends to last a couple of months past its use-by date. Stevia powder has a shelf-life of three years, depending on how you store it.
Stevia leaves can last up to a year, provided that it is stored in an airtight container at any dry and cool places.
The Stevia syrup or liquid keeps its quality for 12 months when properly refrigerated. Stevia leaves in distilled water last for six months in the freezer.
Prolonged storage of Stevia powder can make it caking or clumps, especially when exposed to high temperature or moisture. But the product remains safe for consumption.
According to Organic Stevia, the Stevia liquid, powder, or drops purchased commercially can last for up to three years plus 6-12 months after the use-by date, whether opened or unopened.
What are the Spoilage Signs of Stevia?
Different products are designed using different methods. Some Stevia products have a bitter, mild aftertaste, and it is normal and not a defective product. So, you must know how to smell, look and taste the Stevia products before using them.
Here is a list of things that can help you learn whether your Stevia has gone bad or is still edible.
You must give your Stevia powder or liquid a close look and smell it. If you notice any unpleasant smell radiating from the Stevia product, it means the product has gone bad and is no longer edible.
When Stevia degrades, it loses its natural aromas, flavors, and quality. So, any off smell coming from Stevia means it has gone bad, and it is time to discard it.
As mentioned, when Stevia is exposed to high temperatures, wet utensils, and high humidity, the powder starts forming clumps and clusters. It is not considered a spoilage sign as you can still use it in tea or coffee, but you will experience a taste and flavor change in such Stevia,
What are the Risks of Eating Stevia After Expiry?
With appropriate storage, the Stevia powder and liquid last for up to three years and even beyond its use-by date. It remains edible and safe. However, after prolonged storage, the powdered Stevia may get clumpy, especially when stored inaptly and exposed to extreme temperature and moisture.
But, the product remains safe and edible. So, Stevia never goes bad, provided that it is properly stored. But, you must always look for spoilage signs before using. Because of the hygroscopic agents of Stevia, it may get lumpy or caking when stored improperly and exposed to humidity.
Consuming Stevia herb can cause side effects, including reproductive issues, kidney diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and more. Besides, it is also known to lower blood pressure significantly and may also interfere with medications for diabetes, according to Medical News Today.
Can You Freeze Stevia? Refrigerated Vs. Shelf-Stable
Stevia powder or leaves need no refrigeration to keep their quality longer. However, freezing is always an option if you don’t want to store the Stevia products at room temperature. However, the commercially-bought Stevia powder is not good for freezing.
However, you can mix the Stevia leaves in distilled water and freeze them for prolonged shelf life. The homegrown Stevia leaves must be chopped into small pieces. Place them into an ice tray, and fill distilled water into the cubes. Place the tray into a freezer to allow the Stevia water to freeze.
After the cubes are properly frozen, transfer them into a freezer-friendly, sealable bag and put them into a freezer to make them last longer.
As mentioned, refrigeration is not necessary for both Stevia powder and liquid. It keeps the quality, flavor, and aroma even when stored at room temperature. However, there is no harm in refrigerating the Stevia liquid. But, again, check the storage requirements of the manufacturer before putting it into a fridge.
Not all Stevia liquids are made in the same process and may not require refrigeration. So, it is best to check the storage instructions before putting it into a fridge. You don’t need to refrigerate the powdered Stevia as it keeps quality and flavor even when stored in your pantry at room temperature.
Refrigerating the Stevia powder may increase the chance of spoilage because it will be exposed to moisture. It is not the case with Stevia liquid, and hence it is safe for refrigeration.
As an ingredient, Stevia is proven to be shelf-stable, both as a finished product and raw material, according to Pure Circle Stevia Institute. Stevia remains stable throughout its lifespan when stored in dry and cool places at room temperature.
However, you must check the storage requirements on the label to better understand the proper storage of your Stevia products. The powdered Stevia needs no refrigeration as it lasts up to its expiry date when stored in your pantry at room temperature. However, for the liquid Stevia, you must prefer storing it in a refrigerator. But, it doesn’t mean that it will go rancid when stored at room temperature.
So, it is always a good choice to check the storage requirements mentioned by the manufacturer and store your Stevia accordingly to prolong its shelf-life.
What are the Best Storage Methods for Stevia?
There is a major difference between homegrown Stevia and store-bought Stevia, but the storage requirements are the same for both types. Stevia leaves can be preserved both in liquid and powdered foam, depending on how you want to use them in the future.
If you are searching for the best storage methods for your Stevia, the below storage tips may prove to be helpful for you.
Dry Out Stevia Leaves Before Storing
For homegrown Stevia leaves, it is necessary to dry out the leaves in low heat for at least 48 hours. Ensure proper air circulation is maintained. You can use a dehydrating tool or air dry the leaves under sunlight.
After drying out the leaves, separate the leaves from their stem for storage.
Store in Dry and Cool Places
In order to maintain the quality and flavor of the leaves, you must prefer storing them in a dry and cool place. The leaves are prone to spoilage when exposed to high temperatures and humidity.
So, you have to ensure storing the leaves in cool and dry places away from heat sources, windows, and sinks.
Use Airtight Containers
Whether liquid or powdered Stevia, you must store them in airtight containers. If you have store-bought Stevia powder, you must store it in an airtight container. If you have bought a refill pack of Stevia powder, transfer it to an airtight container for storage.
- It is necessary to use dry utensils to scoop out Stevia powder from the jar. Never use a wet or dirty spoon.
- You must keep the lid tight after each time you open the jar
What are the Alternatives to Stevia if it has gone bad?
In case your stevia has gone bad, or you aren’t able to find it in any nearby supermarkets, you can resort to the following alternatives:
- Maple syrup
- Yacon syrup
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Shelf-Life of Raw Stevia Herb?
The raw form of Stevia has a long shelf-life, and it usually lasts for up to three years, provided that it is stored as recommended. The raw Stevia lasts up to three years when stored in dry and cool conditions. Prolonged exposure to high temperatures and humidity results in caking. Fortunately, it remains safe and edible after that.
Is Refrigeration Needed for Liquid Stevia?
It is not necessary to refrigerate liquid Stevia until it is sealed and unopened. However, after opening the bottle of liquid Stevia, it may require refrigeration. But, you must always check the storage requirements before refrigerating it as different brands have different storage requirements.
Does Liquid Stevia Go Bad?
Yes, liquid Stevia is prone to spoilage after opening. It comes with an expiry date, and it won’t last more than its use-by date. However, if stored properly in the refrigerator, it may last a couple of months more than its use-by date. But, the shelf-life is not as long as powdered Stevia.
Why did the US ban stevia in 1991?
After early studies showcased that stevia might cause cancer, it was banned in the USA. Later, the studies refuted this claim, and refined stevia extracts are available in the USA at the moment.
Why is my liquid stevia cloudy?
Your liquid stevia can turn cloudy if the dropper isn’t properly closed. It might allow the water to evaporate and facilitate the precipitation of concentrated stevia leaf extract.
Does liquid stevia need to be refrigerated?
No, you can store liquid stevia in your kitchen pantry. However, ensure that it is stored in a cool environment, away from direct sunlight.
The Bottom Line
Whether powdered or liquid, Stevia is the best alternative to sugar and artificial sweeteners. With proper storage conditions, Stevia lasts up to three years and can be used even after the use-by date.
Don’t forget to check the use-by date before using Stevia drops or powders. Ensure to check the taste, smell, and appearance of Stevia before using it.
Gina P. Shudnow is the brain behind all our scientific research. She is a Registered Dietitian who has been in the field for over ten years. Her nutrition tips have helped several people overcome health issues in the past. She strives to make everybody healthier without compromising on their food diet.