How to Extract Mint Oil

Overview

Mint oil is sometimes used to flavor recipes, as well as to scent rooms. The most common plants used for mint oils include peppermint (Mentha piperita) and spearmint (Mentha apicata). While mint oil can be purchased at some stores, it is often expensive. Gardeners with their own backyard mint plants can extract mint oils at home using standard household materials.

Step 1

Pick the mint. Pick either individual leaves from the stem of the mint plant or sever off entire stems with leaves intact. For best results and maximum oil content, water mint plants thoroughly for several weeks before harvesting, and harvest the plants in the early morning.

Step 2

Wash the mint using plain water. Be gentle and avoid bruising the leaves or stems. Pluck off any wilted or dried plant parts that you find.

Step 3

Place the mint in a plastic container. Pack in as much mint as you can.

Step 4

Fill the container with 80-proof or higher vodka. Avoid using other types of alcohol, which often contain flavors that may contaminate the mint essence.

Step 5

Cover the container and let the mint soak in the alcohol for four to five weeks. At the end of this time period, remove the mint stems and leaves.

Step 6

Place the container of liquid into your freezer. Remove the container after 48 hours. The contents will have separated. The mint oil solution will have frozen, while the alcohol will still be liquid. Pour out the alcohol and rinse the frozen ice briefly with water. Set the container aside to thaw, and use the mint oil in your favorite potpourri or culinary recipes.

Tips and Warnings

  • Extracting mint oil at home wastes significant amounts of oil. Commercially, mint oil is extracted using a complex series of steam chambers. This extracts the maximum amount of oil from each mint leaf.

Things You'll Need

  • Mint plants
  • Plastic container
  • Vodka
  • Freezer

References

  • University of Illinois: About Mint
  • "The Complete Woman's Herbal: A Manual of Healing Herbs and Nutrition for Personal Wellbeing and Family Care;" Anne McIntire; 1999

Who Can Help

  • About Commercial Mint Extraction
Keywords: mint oil, extract oil, mint herb

About this Author

Joshua Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist who has been writing since 2000. His work has appeared in various national and international magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine." Duvauchelle graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and he earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.