There are other ways to make chocolate mint extract. This version was inspired by the actual chocolate mint variety I planted in the herb garden. This year, the best part of my garden turned out to be the herbs I planted in containers on my deck. Late Spring and Early Summer showers and rains storms created strong, lush green plants. I have never had such a happy looking herb garden. The first time I harvested the herbs, I was slightly overwhelmed with how much I had to preserve. I dried some and used some in cooking.
I air dried a large pile of mixed herbs, crumbled them up and fed them to the chickens. While working with all the different types of mint I had planted this year, I was really able to smell and taste the difference. I planted Mint Mojito, Spearmint, Black Mint, Mint Julep, and Chocolate Mint. The chocolate mint captured my attention and was a milder, earthier mint. Where the spearmint jumped out shouting it’s flavor at me, the chocolate mint, with it subtle deep aroma had me intrigued. After caring for all the herbs daily for the last few months, I really wanted to do something special with the leaves, so that I could remember and enjoy them through the winter.
What can you do with fresh mint?
After rinsing the leaves, pat dry and allow to air dry completely. At this point you can dehydrate for teas, steep the leaves in a solution to make an extract, add to potpourri when dried, or mix into the nesting material in your chicken coop.
Fresh mint can be used in many refreshing drinks. Mint juleps, mojitos, and of course, iced tea.
Try adding mint to fresh salads, or added to stir fry vegetables
Mint Jelly- My mom always served mint jelly with lamb. This year I will make my own mint jelly!
Health and Beauty uses
A sprig of mint and a sprig of Rosemary, added to 8 ounces apple cider vinegar will help fight dandruff flakes. Let the mint and rosemary steep in the apple cider vinegar for a week, use as a rinse after shampooing hair.
Mint Tea will calm your stomach ache. Add fresh mint leaves to hot water. Allow to brew like tea. Tea helps calm and control the spasms associated with a stomach upset.
How to Make Chocolate Mint Extract
- Gather the fresh chocolate mint leaves. Use about a cup or cup and a half of fresh leaves. (Buy a chocolate mint plant here, if you aren’t already growing it)
- Lightly break up the leaves to release the natural oils from the leaves. Place the leaves in a pint jar. You want the jar to be full but not packed down. The leaves should have room to swish around and be completely covered by the liquid.
- I use vodka to make my extracts. Since vodka has little to no taste of it’s own, it allows the extract to fully be flavored by the plant material. Use an 80% proof strength. I grab the cheaper stuff for this project. Rum is another option for a slightly different flavor.
- Pour the vodka over the leaves, covering the leaves completely. Close the jar tightly, store away from natural light, like the back of a shelf or the back of a cupboard.
- Every day or so, take the jar out and shake it up gently to distribute the leaves. Place it back in the dark.
Bottling the Chocolate Mint Extract
After two months the extract should be getting strong enough to strain and bottle for use or gift giving. I like to give it at least two months and up to four months is great! The flavor and aroma will continue to deepen.
When the extract is strong enough, strain through a fine strainer or coffee filter into a clean jar. Label and store the extract away from natural light. When I make a batch, I store it in the mason jar until I bottle it up for gift giving.
Add your own beautiful tag or label for the chocolate mint extract. I came across a suggestion to add to the gift. Chocolate mint roots easily. Start some individual plants in cute small pots while waiting for the extract to steep. Then, give the extract and the small pot of chocolate mint! Great idea for the cook on your gift list.
What to do with your chocolate mint extract
Use a drop or two in your coffee, tea or hot cocoa
It is delicious in ice cream! Add a tablespoon to flavor homemade batch of ice cream.
Add a teaspoon to homemade vanilla frosting for a chocolate cake! (drooling)
Use in baked goods along with the vanilla extract
Chocolate Mint infused Honey
One last tip on making extracts for gifts. If you are getting a late start, give the recipient an extract kit. You can start the extract for them, using a pretty mason jar. Add a small funnel, a glass jar for the extract, and a card with the instructions on filtering and storing extract after a certain date. The gift recipient can enjoy the process too, and then bottle it up and enjoy.
Now it’s your turn! What would you do with chocolate mint extract ?
Read my post on making Vanilla Extract!