If you garden, summertime means a lot of work harvesting every thing you planted in the spring. And although it is so amazing to have fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs, it also means more work on an already busy day here on the farm. Today, I will teach you how to make easy homemade mint extract with fresh mint using only two ingredients.
One thing we have been harvesting lately is chocolate mint! We have TONS of it! And although I preserve most of it by hanging it to dry to make mint tea for the winter, I am always looking for other ways to use it. Today, we will make fresh Mint Extract with our recent harvest.
Collecting your harvest of fresh mint
Mint is a very invasive plant. Once you plant it, it begins to take over your garden beds. I suggest planting it in a container to help control spreading. Mint grows roots that spread under ground and pop up where ever they feel like it. So even though you may plant it on in place, in a few months, you may find it on the opposite side of your garden or yard.
I collect the longest branches. I use this method to try and control the spreading of the plant. See these roots? This was buried underneath the dirt, reaching to the other side of the section of garden. I will snip the branch in a spot where there is a new set of leaves beginning to promote continued growth for our next harvest.
For this recipe, you will need enough mint leaves to fill a quart-sized mason jar.
Preparing your Jar and your two ingredients
Always use a clean and sanitized jar for your extract. Your mint extract will be sitting in this jar for about 2 months so you want to make sure it is super clean. I will run my mason jars through the dishwasher at a high temperature right before I’m ready to fill it.
Also always use a NEW and UNSURE canning lid. Rims may be reused. I highly suggest washing them in the dishwasher along with your jar. Make sure it is super dry before using on your extract.
Filling the jar with fresh mint
Mint leaves smell so amazing! Your goal here is to fill your jar to the top, compacting the leaves as you go. The more leaves you have, the better in my book. I pull the leaves off one at a time, picking out any leaves that are not totally green and beautiful. I also make sure to look for bugs and critters. You will want to wash your leaves and dry them completely before placing them in the jar.
Once totally dry, place all of your leaves into your jar. Take a wooden spoon or tamper and bruise the leaves, pushing them down to make the leaves release the oils they hold. Your leaves will start to look brown and broken after this step.
Ingredient that makes the extract
As much as I hate to admit it, you must use a clear alcohol (liquor, NOT rubbing alcohol) in order to make mint extract. You can use clear rum or vodka. Today, I used vodka. Once your leaves have released their oils and are pushed down to about 3/4th’s of the way down into the jar, use your clear alcohol (liquor, not rubbing alcohol) to totally cover the leaves. If you have a leave that floats, I would recommend removing that leave. I usually remove that leave as it just might not be good to use. Place a NEW and cleaned canning lid on top of your jar, securing it with a rim. Place your jar in your pantry for approximately 2 months or more.
Storing and Gifting
Once your extract has sat for about 2 or more months, you can place the extract into smaller, dark bottles. The dark bottle will help to retain the flavor in your extract better than a light colored bottle. You want to use a glass bottle too as plastic will also diminish the flavor over time. I purchase these adorable 2 oz. dark amber, glass bottles on Amazon so that I can place a sweet label on them, along with a cute bow, and give them away to friends as gifts closer to the Christmas holiday. Who doesn’t love mint flavoring for their holiday baking?
WHAT ARE SOME OTHER THINGS YOU USE FRESH MINT LEAVES IN YOUR DAILY COOKING?
- Fresh Peppermint from garden or store (enough to fill a quart-sized mason jar
- Clear Alcohol (liquor, not rubbing alcohol)
- 1 Quart-sized Mason Jar with clean lid and rim
- Wooden spoon or tamper
- Gather all items needed for your extract. Be sure to harvest enough mint to fill your quart-sized mason jar completely to the top.
- Pull all of the leaves off you mint branches. Wash and completely dry before placing them into your jar.
- Use the end of your wooden spoon or use a tamper to bruise and score the mint leaves until they are mashed down to about 3/4th's of the jar.
- Pour clear alcohol (liquor, not rubbing alcohol) in your jar until the leaves are TOTALLY covered!
- Place lid and rim on jar securely. Place jar in back of pantry for 2+ months.
- Once time has passed, place extract in darker glass bottles to preserve longer.
This extract is great for mint recipes. You can save for your own use or give away as sweet gifts to friends and family closer to the Christmas holiday. Place a cute little label and bow for gifting.
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Click HERE for your free e-book on more uses for how to use all of the mint from your summer harvest!