How To Make Peppermint Extract
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From peppermint candy to herbal tea, this garden wonder has always been one of my favorite flavors. Its stimulating taste invigorates while offering a cool minty rush and aroma. It gets even better when combined with baked goods, chocolate, or ice cream! Who doesn't have a little brown-tinted bottle of some kind of extract in the pantry? Consider how much those bottles cost; each of those tiny little 1 to 4-ounce liquid extracts range anywhere from $4.00 to $8.00 each! Now, consider the cost savings; with your own fresh grown herbs, and cheap alcohol, the price for 16-ounces of homemade extract is pennies on the dollar! Homemade extracts are a simple to manage and worthwhile project. Not to mention they also offer you the control of ingredients, quality, and more importantly the freshest product possible!
- Pint size jar with a very tight sealing lid
- Access to fresh picked peppermint (or any edible) plant material
- Cool dark location for aging (3 to 6 weeks)
- Pen for labeling jars (or adhesive labels)
Ingredients For Making Peppermint Etxract
- 2 cups fresh peppermint leaf (or any edible plant material), cleaned and picked through
- 2 cups 80-proof alcohol (vodka, brandy, and rum work best), Make sure to use ONLY consumable alcohol
- Clean and sort all of the plant material. Avoid using any of the yellowed, moldy, damaged, or rotten parts. Wash any muddy roots thoroughly. Chop or severely bruise the plant material. This allows for increased cell exposure to the alcohol, which in-turn, speeds up the extraction process.
- Fill the clean 1-pint jar with the prepared peppermint (or any) plant material. Leave 1-inch of headroom.
- Pour the alcohol (I use the cheapest vodka I can find) into the jar so it completely covers the peppermint material. Using a butter knife, stir the blend to release all of the air bubbles that may be lurking inside the jar and between the leafy material. Add more alcohol as needed to totally cover any exposed material.
- Place the lid on very tightly. Label with the date, weather conditions, and seasonal information. Place the filled, sealed, and labeled jars in a cool dark location, and allow to sit for 3 to 6 weeks. (Shake the jars periodically and make sure the plant material is still completely covered by alcohol. Add more alcohol as needed.)
- AFTER 3 TO 6 WEEKS; the plant material should look pale, limp, and spent. Strain and press the liquid through a cheesecloth into a glass or stainless container. Leave the plant material in the jar for right now.
- Once you have drained off all of the liquid, place the plant material into the cheesecloth. Wrap it tight and squeeze out (or wring out) into the same container. Discard the plant material.
- Use a funnel to pour extract into appropriate sized jars or containers for storage or gifting. Be sure to label each newly filled container and store each in a dark, cool place. (Covering the jar with a decorative bag or cloth helps keep light from damaging your new extract, and offers a great looking gift!)
Straining Homemade Extracts
I don't necessarily strain out my extracts right as they come due. I have jars that have been setting for as much as a year. As long as you are sure to re-seal them tightly, you can pour right out of the jar with the materials still inside. Just watch out for sliding plant materials as you do.
Peppermint Extract Jars
What Is Glycerin?
Glycerin is a sweet, thick, syrupy, and slippery-feeling fluid. It will extract most of a plant's alkaloid and mucilage, but can't extract the resins like an 80-proof alcohol based extract will.
NON-Alcohol Peppermint Extract
How To Make A NON-Alcohol Peppermint Extract
To make a non-alcohol version of peppermint extract, use the same process as shown above, but replace the 80-proof alcohol with glycerin and distilled water.
Making A Glycerate: (NON-Alcoholic Extract)
Combine equal parts pure and distilled water to replace the alcohol used in the recipe above. Since 80% alcohol is already diluted with water, the need to dilute the 100% glycerin is necessary to achieve a similar extraction element. Some herbalist use a 2:1 ratio of glycerin to water, saying that the plant matter already has a certain amount of water within it; thus, bringing a natural dilution. If you are sensitive to glycerin, revising the blend ratio may be appropriate to reduce the chance of discomfort when using the extract. 100% vegetable glycerin
NOTE: **It is important to keep the glycerin and water to at least a 25% blend. This reduces the risk of spoilage while it also makes for safe consumption.**
Important Tips For Making Extracts
When creating your own peppermint extracts—or any kind of extract—there are just a few really important things to remember for the best product and shelf life. Below are the most important things to keep in mind while preparing your extracts.
- be sure to use equal parts of and plant material 80-proof alcohol
- the "equal parts" formula yields about a 20% alcohol end product
- 15 to 20% alcohol will store best
- a less than 15% alcohol formula can result in mold or rotting during storage
- more than 20% alcohol and you are not utilizing the plant's/herb's full potential
Alcohol-Based Peppermint Extract (has no real food value, but can be about 89% Alcohol)
|Serving size: 1/4 teaspoon|
|Calories from Fat||0|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 0 g|
|Saturated fat 0 g|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 0 g|
|Sugar 0 g|
|Fiber 0 g|
|Protein 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.|
What is The Difference Between A Tincture and An Extract
What Is An Extract:
An extract is a 1:1 ratio of alcohol to plant matter, which makes it stronger than a tincture. Extracts are the result of steeping fresh or dried plant matter in 100% vodka, rum, brandy; or stiff grain alcohol for a number of weeks (generally 3 to 6). The alcohol acts upon the plant material in such a way—like a solvent—to "extract" the medicinal or culinary properties of the plant. Some commercial extractions are done using acetone or other harsh chemicals. Using these harsh elements can leave some of the chemicals behind in the end product. Further curing or production methods may be applied in the commercial scenario, thus reducing the quality and worthiness of the extract. The cold (alcohol) method leaves the best attributes of the plant materials behind for straining and bottling. Keeping extracts for years without refrigeration is possible as long as they remain in a cool dark location.
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What Is A Tincture:
A tincture is a 1:3 (or more) ratio of plant matter to alcohol. A tincture is a combination of herbs (or plants) and alcohol, and is much less concentrated than an extract.
What Is A Glyceride:
You can use glycerin instead of alcohol as an extractor, this eliminates the problem of having alcohol in the product; which makes it suitable for those who have trouble using alcohol based consumables. Glycerine gets used more in external beauty products, but works well as a consumable when used in conservative dosages. It is important to note that when using a glycerin to extract plant elements, the storage time is significantly less than when using an alcohol base solvent.
Using Peppermint Extract
My favorite quick and easy recipe is a 5 minute chocolate peppermint cake that is as minty as you choose to make it. I use peppermint extract in cookies, frosting, candy making, and even swirled into vanilla ice cream. The limits to just how to use homemade peppermint extract is up to you. It is easy to make, with the most difficult part of the recipe being waiting for it to extract for 3 to 6 weeks!
Sample Cost Table For Pure Commercial-Made Peppermint Extract
COST PER OUNCE
Adam's (web Site)
McCormick (Amazon online)
1 ounce (x pack of 6)
McCormick (Lucky's online)
Spice Barn (web Site)
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