Friday, May 4, 2012

Mint Extract - DIY Pantry

Mint extract - it's not the most popular of extracts but it is as simple to make as the most popular (that would be vanilla). Crush fresh mint leaves - or "muddle" them as bartenders do for Mojitos - and pour vodka over the leaves packed tightly in a jar. Shake once a day for three weeks, and voila! ze mint extract!

As with so many of my DIY adventures, the adventure begins from necessity. Remembering grasshopper pie from my childhood - chocolate and mint combine in fluffy goodness all tucked into an oreo-like cookie crust - I realized that homemade mint extract would be a cinch to make. And it was!

As a child, grasshopper pie was never made at home but when I spied it at family gatherings or potlucks, second helpings were a must! Of course since my new love - Isa Chandra of Post Punk Kitchen - makes a vegan version, mine was as well. The next post in a few days will detail the recipe and a gorgeous picture.

Unlike vanilla extract, mint's versatility is a bit limited, mostly in desserts. And knowing how few desserts are actually on this blog - only 13 out of 400 plus posts! - I guess I'll have to be making some more sweet treats in the future. If any readers want to suggest some desserts that would use mint, please do not hesitate to fire away in the comment section!

Mint Extract

2 cups fresh mint leaves - I used spearmint, my personal favorite
1 cup vodka

Wash and dry mint if they are at all dirty. Place in glass jar and using a pestal or another utensil, mash, crush and general break down the mint to release their oils and aromas. Add vodka and cover tightly. Set in cool dark place (like your pantry or cupboard) and once a day shake it vigorously, for three weeks. The leaves will lose their color and the liquid will turn brownish. Ready to use in 21 days.


Recipes currently inspiring me:

Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad with Parmesan at Garden of Eating
Quinoa, Fennel and Pomegranate Salad at Marcus Samuelsson (via Eats Well With Others)
Pearl Barley Pilaf with Porcini and Peas at An Edible Mosaic

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