Lately a lot of toxic compounds are added to food and skincare products i prefer to make my own extracts and creams. Even if it takes awhile I know exactly what i put in them and I can be sure I don danger my health. This being said after I read a lot of recipes on how to extract peppermint oil from the plant named Mentha piperita, I decided to give it a try. Usually the oil is extracted from the whole plant and not just the leaves, jus before blooming. The industrial method to do that is by steam distillation from the fresh or dried whole plant. Because I do not have a lab at home with a distilling pot and a separatory funnel, I took an easy method perfect for my kitchen.
The necessary ingredients are:
- Alcohol (as pure as you can get it – because I will use this extract for hot chocolate and muffins I used white rum because of the final flavors)
- Fresh peppermint leaves (my sister is growing peppermint in the garden so for me was easy to find fresh and organic peppermint; if you pick them yourself do it in the morning before the sun becomes too bright)
- Glass jar or bottle (important to be airtight)
The process is actually pretty simple.
- You take the peppermint leaves. You wash them very well in case of bugs or dust.
- Dry the leaves on some paper.
- You crush the leaves with your fingers as small as you can. Do not use a knife because it will spoil the leaves.
- Then you insert the leaves into the bottle, add alcohol and let it stay like this for about three weeks. The alcohol should just cover the leaves. Some of the leaves might be above the alcohol but if you shake the bottle they will drop inside the liquid.
- Do not double the amount on alcohol because it will ruin the flavor. Keep in dark and cold place where the temperature is constant and from time to time visit the bottles and shake them again.
- After three weeks you take the bottle/jar and strain the liquid out into a clean glass. Then you put it in the freezer for two hours. The peppermint oil is going to be separated by freezing from the alcohol. So you will have an ice phase (the peppermint oil) and above it the alcohol. You should drain the alcohol and reuse it for other projects. The peppermint oil must be stored in a dark glass container in the fridge. It will last for about a year or so. But if you do love hot chocolate with a fresh tingle of peppermint you might have to do this process again and again.
For a hot and relaxing bath add six drops of peppermint oil to a glass of milk and just before getting in the bathtub pour the mix into water and stir well. You will sure have a great experience and your skin will say thank you!