Making your own peppermint extract is surprisingly simple and is wonderful to have on hand in the kitchen. It works well if you want to make a delicious peppermint bark, a cake, or even a brownie with a little mint flavor. Recently, we were doing some holiday baking and we took a look at the ingredients in our store bought peppermint extract, and it got us thinking. We’ve been making our own vanilla extract for a few years, why couldn’t we make our own mint extract too?
Like most gardeners we have an overzealous mint patch, so there’s always an abundance of mint at our disposal. We also had some vodka on hand from making a batch of vanilla extract, (we also use it to make some cleaning products). A mid-grade, high proof vodka is sufficient for extracts. It is important to note that most vodka is gluten free. However, if gluten is a concern, you may want to reference this gluten-free vodka list. If you don’t want to use vodka, rum is a good substitute.
The containers you may want to consider include, the UV blocking characteristics of our Amber Boston Round Jars (8oz) and their geeky polycone phenolic lids. They look and feel official. If you don’t need to see the lovely hue of your extract, these are the best choice.
We chose to make our extract in the 8oz Woozy Bottles, it’s a good size for gifting and we like the ability to see our green mint in the clear glass jar (although, the bright green mint will fade as the mint steeps). If you’d like a larger option you could also consider the 10oz Woozy Bottle or the 12oz Vinaigrette Bottles. The woozy and vinaigrette bottles have an opening that fits an Dripper Plug Orifice Reducer, which makes precise pouring a snap and they work with these plastic or metal lids. If you aren’t using a Dripper Plug Orifice Reducer you could use a plastisol lined lid. Please note, the plastisol lined lids will NOT work with the Dripper Plug Orifice Reducer.
Watch our video to see how we made our mint extract, or follow the recipe below.
Rinse mint leaves with water, pat dry and remove stems.
Roughly chop or tear mint to release some of the oils.
Pack the leaves in container, fill the container to just below the neck of the jar. We used an 8oz. jar and used about 1 and 1/2 cups of mint.
Use a funnel and fill the container with vodka. Be sure the liquid covers all the mint leaves. For our 8oz. jar we used about 7oz of vodka. Use a chopstick to help submerge all the mint leaves and release any air bubbles.
If using a bottle, securely add the Dripper Plug Orifice Reducer and a lid. If using a Mason jar, cap your jar with either a one or two-piece lid.
Allow the mixture to steep in a cool dark place for 2-4 weeks, or until you think the extract has a bright peppermint flavor. You can strain leaves out once you receive the desired flavor.
If the flavor doesn’t develop as you hoped, consider multiple infusions for a full flavor. Strain the leaves after a week or two, retain the liquid and add fresh mint to the liquid, and repeat process until the extract achieves the flavor you expect.
I have tried this and the vodka became a murky brown color and smelled really bad. How can avoid this outcome?
A couple things to consider:
*Air exposure will lead to rot – make sure your container is tightly closed and mint is fully covered with alcohol. When filling container, use a chopstick and gently stir to release any potential air bubbles and refill until covered.
*Use high proof alcohol.
*Keep in a cool dark place.
*Only use fresh mint leaves.
What would a person use mint extract for and can you make it with spearmint leaves instead of peppermint
Mint extract is great for baking. It works well if you want to make a delicious peppermint bark, a cake, or even a brownie with a little mint flavor.
Spearmint leaves can be used. However, your extract will not have quite the brightness of true mint.