STEVIA LEAVES MANUAL
1) Collecting Stevia leaves.
- Initiate the collection when 5% of the stevia flowers are open. By this time, the leaves have their highest concentration of stevioside.
- Cut the plants above the land to preserve the roots.
- Preserve the 5% of plants to produce seeds increase plantation.
- It is required 1 worker per 1000 m2 of land to collect the stevia leaves.
- Water the land daily the first 2 weeks the collection. Thereafter, do it twice a week.
- Initiate the second collection 70-90 days after the first one.
- 4000 kg/Hectare/year will be collected. The plantation will be preserved for 5-6 years without a need of renovation.
2) Drying the stevia leaves.
- It is needed 100 m2of drying surface per hectare per week of collection. Avoid this on raining days.
- Use synthetic fabrics to cover the area used for drying.
- The branches will be exposed to sunlight for 6 hours. The branches must not be interporsed.
- The best moment to collect leaves is when they turn brittle with 10-12% of humidity.
- Mechanical dryers can be used. Use high pressure air at 70 C degrees.
- Collect the leaves with a rake with compressed extensions.
3) Storing the dry leaves.
- Store the dry leaves (dark green color) in bags (10 kg/bag) made of synthetic fabric or jute.
- The bag must be stored in an environment with the following characteristics: dry, dark, clean and protected from humidity. They can be kept in this environment for 5-6 months for commercial purposes.
- The light green leaves are despised in the market. They are considered as sick leaves because they where stored in bad conditions.