Thursday, July 14, 2011

When life gives you a huge huge heap of peppermint....make creme de menthe

I was getting a bit put off by the peppermint sprawling all over the balcony, even though it was nice to smell peppermint every time you walked on the balcony (especially when I stepped on the runners). So half asleep and groggy, I made the decision late Wednesday night that I will drastically cut back the peppermints, especially when other half and extended family will be arriving by the end of the week. Boy, was I in for a surprise with the amount of plant material that I had to remove.
The huge pile of peppermint parked in front of the couch with a 1.5L soft drink bottle for scale.

Stolons from under the polybag. They were growing into the adjacent bags.

What's left of the peppermint. Compare that to them in this article and over here.

So you might be thinking, lucky him, he's going to have fresh peppermint tea day and night, bath in peppermint scented water etc. Problem is, I love peppermint tea, but the menthol relaxes the gastric sphincter muscles and I get bad bad case of reflux. On the other hand, to throw away such a large amount of peppermint is sheer waste, and I can only give that much to friends and colleagues. Thus, I laid everything on the living room in front of the TV and whilst watching TV, proceeded to pick only the shoots to be given away to friends or use by family for making fresh peppermint tea. I ended up throwing 2/3 of the peppermint away.

The pile in the centre was thrown away. The one in the blue basin was used for making peppermint extract and the rest was eventually discarded, after finding no takers for peppermint.

This was packed them into a garbage bag and my oh my, do my garbage smell delightfully refreshing with the strong peppermint smell. Then and only then did an idea hit me...and I looked up in the internet on how to make peppermint extract/tincture. The idea is so that I can flavour drinks or ice-cream with peppermint flavour as it is next to impossible to get peppermint flavour from the supermarket. Then I started reading about making your own creme de menthe by adding syrup to the homemade peppermint, which sounded like an even better idea. Getting all excited, I made a mental plan to stay focused and concentrate on getting the extract first. So the first thing that I did when I got off work the next day was to go get a cheap 80 proof vodka and crammed all the peppermint in the blue basin into a 500ml Duran bottle and fill it with the vodka.

Peppermint soaking in vodka.

Now I am counting down till the end of the month to see if the peppermint extract is of any good. Wish me luck.