This mint extract recipe is a potent herbal formula that captures the mint flavor and scent in one small bottle. Made of two ingredients, this mint-infused vodka is a great way to add mint flavors to your sweet dishes. Moreover, Its cooling and refreshing scent can enhance your skin or home.
I love to use fresh mint leaves as they give a natural mint flavor to my morning tea. My husband uses mint leaves when making these refreshing-infused waters. And these mint treats - herbal popsicles and sorbets always work for my kids.
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If you are looking for ways to preserve your mint plants as you grow too many, making mint extract is a great idea, especially if you like chocolate and mint combination. These sweet treats call for a natural mint flavor that is best captured in homemade mint extract.
What are mint extracts anyway?
Mint extracts are alcohol concentrates made of fresh or dried mint leaves and alcohol. While herbalists call them tinctures, others may know them as mint or peppermint essences.
There are many varieties of mint that are all very fragrant with tiny leaves and square stems.
When you roll them between your fingers, you will notice the natural mint flavor of sweet tea or mint juleps.
More than 7000 plants belong to the mint family, with the most popular peppermint (Mentha piperita) and spearmint (Mentha spicata) followed by citrus mint (Mentha suaveolens) and Apple/Pineapple Mint (Mentha suaveolens).
Even though they have slightly different tastes and smells, they all contain menthol that gives them a typically cool and fresh feeling. These can be used in homemade mint extract, unlike the other herbs such as lemon balm or sage that also belong to the mint family; however, they don’t contain menthol and are not suitable for making mint extract.
Fresh or dried mint?
If you want to capture the mint fragrance in the bottle, I will opt for fresh leaves as I feel that the scent fades with the drying process. However, fresh mint leaves contain moisture that can spoil your homemade mint extract. The taste of mint should not be affected by the drying process. The choice is yours.
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Solvent - alcohol
Any type of ethanol (synonyms: ethyl alcohol or grain spirit) available in a pharmacy is acceptable when making mint extract.
You can also use vodka, rum, or brandy. I prefer vodka for its neutral taste and color.
The strength of alcohol matters; thus, search for 40-50% alcohol equal to 80-90 proof. These are standard concentrations for making homemade mint extract.
Recipe for mint extract
Whether you grow your mint or buy dry mint, you will need to gather 1 cup of fresh or ½ cup of dried mint to make this homemade mint extract.
I like to harvest mint leaves early morning to preserve their volatile oils. It is also advisable to collect them before they begin to bloom.
Use blender or food processor to chop the fresh mint leaves to increase the surface area for the maceration.
Place them into a sterilized jar.
Fill the jar with alcohol of your choice to the very top of the jar so all mint leaves are fully submerged in alcohol.
I like to use this glass jar with a plastic lid, but if you don't have one, just use parchment paper in between to avoid any corrosion.
Cover the jar and place it in a cool, easily accessible place. You will need to shake it from time to time to break the cell walls of the herb and allow infusion.
Check if the leaves are entirely covered with alcohol, as the alcohol can evaporate. The entire extraction process can last 2-3 weeks.
Strain the mint-infused vodka into a sterilized jar through a cheesecloth. Ensure that all herbal material is removed as it may cause mold and spoilage.
Label the mint tincture and store it in a dark bottle with a dropper in a cold place. It can last up to 5 years.
How to use this mint tincture
Mint and chocolate pair nicely, so if you like chocolate mint flavors - add a few drops when making homemade hot chocolate, chocolate cookies, chocolate mousse, or even chocolate syrup. The sky is the limit.
I like to add a few drops into ice water to make a refreshing drink or give a mint hint to your tea
For your homemade apothecary
If you suffer toothache or muscle ache, you might find this mint extract handy. Menthol acts as a mild anesthetic and anti-inflammatory and is a popular ingredient in topical pain relievers such as muscle rub. Add a few drops around the tooth and it may help to draw the abscess out.
Add a few drops into your bath to make a mint bath. It is incredibly refreshing…
Add it to your homemade mouthwash to give it an extra minty flavor.
Or to your homemade mint toothpaste.
MInt possesses antiseptic and antibacterial properties and can make an effective home cleanser. Plus its pleasant refreshing aroma gives your household a clean and fresh scent. Use a spray bottle with two tablespoons of homemade mint extract and one cup of water and use it instead of expensive spray cleaners.
In cleaning wipes
Thanks to its alcohol-based origin and antibacterial properties; this homemade mint extract is excellent for cleaning wipes.
Simple water and mint extract combinations will keep all spiders and insects from entering your home.
This mint tincture is alcohol-based, and if appropriately maintained, it should last up to 5 years. I usually finish it much before that.
If you use this mint extract in baking, the alcohol will evaporate during the baking and cooking process, so you don’t have to worry. You can use glycerin or vinegar as a solvent instead of alcohol to make it alcohol-free.
When you use fresh mint leaves, they tend to turn brown if you let them macerate for a longer time (3 or more weeks). The color doesn’t matter as long as the scent and taste are delicate. Alternatively, let the leaves infuse for two weeks only or use dried leaves to keep the mint extract green.