Part of the reason that I decided to grow mint this year was so that I could try making my own peppermint extract. Jesse and I are pretty much obsessed with mint (especially mint plus chocolate) so we go through a lot of mint extract. I buy this brand of mint extract and think it’s great, but it’s not exactly cheap, so making my own seemed like a great way to save some money.
I finally got down to it last weekend. The extract has only been sitting for a few days so far so I can’t tell you how it came out, but I wanted to share the method now in case anyone else has an abundance of mint just begging to be used for something.
How to Make Peppermint Extract
I did a quick Google search and found a multitude of recipes, all of which followed the same basic outline. Taking direction particularly from this recipe from Crunchy Betty and this recipe from Saved by the Egg Timer, here’s what I did:
Harvest a bunch of mint leaves from your mint plant. I chose to cut off stalks of mint because my plant was getting quite big, but I’m sure that you could just pull off individual leaves if you prefer.
Remove mint leaves from stalks (if applicable) and pack leaves into a measuring cup to determine how much mint you have. I ended up with about 1/2 cup of mint. Since I wanted to make my mint extract in a pint jar, 1/2 cup of leaves was a good amount for me, but you could easily use more or less leaves if desired.
Rinse mint leaves with water, then squeeze leaves in your hands to bruise the leaves before placing them into a clean glass jar. (Bruising the leaves helps them release their oil when they’re placed in the vodka.)
Add about two to four times as much vodka as you have mint, making sure that use enough to submerge all of your leaves. I originally planned on adding one cup of vodka for my 1/2 cup of mint, but that didn’t end up being enough vodka to cover my leaves so I bumped it up to 1 1/2 cups.
Cover your jar with a lid and allow to steep for about a month in a cool, dark place. (I put mine in my pantry.) After the month has elapsed, you can start tasting the extract to see if it’s developed the flavor and intensity you want. If so, strain out the leaves and use the extract just as you would store-bought extract.
If your mint extract is not yet strong enough, allow it to continue to steep until it reaches your desired flavor.
That’s it! I can’t wait to try out my finished extract in our favorite mint recipes, like homemade mint chocolate, mint chocolate fudge, mint chocolate chip coconut ice cream, and chocolate mint coconut ice cream. 🙂
Have you ever made peppermint extract? What are your favorite ways to use up fresh mint?
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