Let’s make a mint!

As a child my favorite ice cream was mint chocolate chip.  Something about that light green with chunks of chocolate in it just made my tummy happy.  As a new mommy, I learned that a few drops of mint in a 4 oz bottle of water made my gassy babies a lot happier than the expensive baby gas drops and I’ve learned it also helps with stomach cramps and countless other things.

In baking, mint goes with chocolate almost as well as peanut butter does.  In this house we LOVE chocolate.  So, since I had been so successful with making my own vanilla, I decided to try a few other flavors too.  One of my favorite…yep you guessed it:  mint!  Here’s a picture I took this morning of my 2nd batch steeping/infusing:

It looks terrible I know.  But the smell….oh man the smell is wonderful.  I can’t wait for it to be ready to use.  So…why make my own you ask?  Well let’s crunch some numbers shall we?  Store bought pure mint extract is more than $3 an ounce locally.  The jar in this photo is 16 ounces.  To buy this much mint extract at the store would cost me almost $50.  My DIY mint extract is much cheaper.  The last bottle of vodka I bought was on sale for $12 for about 59 oz (1.75 liters).  Most of the recipes I’ve found say to use “top shelf” vodka, but I haven’t had a problem using bottom shelf varieties.   Not that I’d know the difference anyway given I’m not a drinker but…

So…my vodka costs .20 cents an ounce and my mint cost per batch is $1.96.  Total cost for 16oz of pure mint extract if you make it yourself is $5.16.  The $45 I’ve just saved equates to a year of laundry soap, fabric softener and stain remover (or lots of new scrappy stuff) PLUS I can also customize the strength of my extract by adding more or less mint if I want.  So sorry Schilling but you got NOTHING on my mint extract!!!

Making mint extract is just as easy as it is to make vanilla.  To make the jar shown above, you simply need one 16 oz jar, 2 bundles of organic mint (or any other mint), and vodka.  Tear all the mint leaves off their stems and them bruise the leaves up really good.  I used the end of  tart shaper thingie from Pampered Chef.  This is VERY important.  When I first started this batch I didn’t bruise the leaves and it was taking forever to infuse (plus I don’t think I used enough leaves either).  Take your bruised mint leaves and put them in your jar then fill your jar with vodka.  It’s important that the vodka cover the leaves entirely (so they don’t mold and spoil your extract).  Leave your jar out on your counter or mantle or wherever, and shake it every couple of days to mix things up.  When your liquid is more mint than vodka, it’s done.  Like the vanilla, the longer you steep/infuse, the better/stronger your mint will be.  Once the extract has reached your desired strength, strain out the leaves and enjoy!

I use this same mint extract in my DIY mouthwash and toothpaste and baking and start a new batch when I’m about halfway through the first.

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2 thoughts on “Let’s make a mint!

  1. Hi there! I was upset about the cost of mint extract also, especially when mint is such a fast-growing, invasive herb. I’ve been making my own vanilla extract, so I decided to google about making mint. None of them seem to agree with each other, though. So I have a couple questions, if you don’t mind. First, the alcohol turns brown. Is that OK? It tastes minty still? I do feel like maybe commerically prepared mint extract is also brown. Second, you must strain your extract through a cheesecloth or something, right? Some sites say to take the mint out after, like, 2 days. Do you think that makes sense? Any advice would sure be appreciated!

    • I’m going to email you as well Melissa, but thought I’d post the answers publicly in case others have the same questions. Yes it’s fine for the alcohol to turn brown. It still tastes minty once it has cured long enough, kinda like the vanilla. We (my sister and I) didn’t strain the first batch we made. She poured off some of the extract for me, then left her mint leaves in the container ensuring there was enough alcohol to cover them and has used it for months with no issue. In the batch I’ve featured here, I will strain it because there are some very tiny pieces of leaves and stems in the mix that won’t be fun to eat. I would not take the mint out after just 2 days. My current batch has been infusing since the date of this post and I’m just now about to open it up and use it. How long you leave the mint in is up to you. Like with making vanilla and using vanilla beans, the longer you leave them in, the stronger your mint will be. I hope this helps.

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