Mint extract is basically the bottled essence of the mint leaves. It is used as a flavoring agent in multiple mint recipes from drinks and desserts to candies or simply dripped into a cup of coffee.
Most extract recipes call for the use of alcohol in one form or another as does this recipe. However if you are squeamish or have reservations about using alcohol you can also use vinegar for an alcohol free extract – scroll to page bottom if that be the case.
MINT EXTRACT RECIPE
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups of Vodka
1. After harvesting the mint leaves, remove the stems, rinse the leaves and gently pat dry them.
2. Crumble and mash the leaves in your hands to release the oils.
3. Place your crumbled mint leaves in a glass jar filled halfway with Vodka. The leaves should be loosely packed – not overly compacted and should be entirely covered with the vodka brine. As you add the mint leaves the vodka level should approach the jars top leaving roughly 1/2 inch of head space. drain or add Vodka as need be. It is however vital that you completely cover the mint leaves with alcohol, so they don’t decay or grow mold in which case discard the whole batch.
4. Shake the mixture vigorously, seal it and set aside in a cool, dark place for about 1.5 to 2 months. The longer you wait the stronger the mixture, it’s perfectly okay to remove the lid from time to tome to check on your mixture and the waiting period is not written in stone – it varies dependent on your personal desire.
5. After the mint and Vodka has thoroughly blended [roughly 2 Months] Strain the leaves, and bottle the finished mint extract. A coffee filter works just dandy for the straining process. The filtered leaves should be squeezed thoroughly to force them to surrender the essential mint oils.
Note that if you opted to use dried mint leaves instead of fresh you will cut down on the waiting time by roughly half or end up with a much more concentrated extract.
There are also alcohol free mint extracts that are easily made. One that works well involves diluted vinegar [either white vinegar or cider vinegar will suffice] to roughly half strength. Water – Vinegar 50/50 blend. Follow the instructions above and substitute the water-vinegar blend for the Vodka. The vinegar will detract from the mint flavor of the extract, even in its diluted state, some people will add small amounts of Honey as well.
I personally prefer the Vodka blend but I have tried the vinegar version and it is acceptable – the second batch I made I added some Stevia leaves which helped to stifle the pickly vinegar flavor.