Can I eat this? Mint extract edition
November 13, 2017 8:01 PM   Subscribe

Will my mint extract kill us? If yes, what did I do wrong? If no, please suggest recipes that use mint extract!

About a month ago I decided to kill the tail ends of a bunch of fresh mint and a bottle of vodka by making homemade mint extract. I decanted the extract today, and it's an alarming shade of brown. I tasted a little -- it was pleasantly minty and I feel fine, but is the color change normal? If the batch needs to be tossed, what did I do wrong? If this is okay, what's your favorite recipe that uses mint extract?
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? to Food & Drink (13 answers total)
I don't think you can make anything dangerous with edible leaves steeped in vodka.

Mint extract is great for all kinds of Christmasy mint-chocolate stuff. Make a pan of brownies. Now flavor a cream cheese or buttercream icing with mint extract. Put a layer of that on the brownies. Top with either a thin layer of chocolate or crushed candycane. OR BOTH.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:04 PM on November 13, 2017 [2 favorites]

The brown is probably just from the cellulose and other organic matter in the mint. The alcohol should have prevented any bacteria from growing, so it should just be an aesthetic problem. I'm sure you could filter it. Activated charcoal would be my first choice, but it might filter out the mint flavor also. Filter paper would probably work also.
posted by wierdo at 8:08 PM on November 13, 2017

Cocoa, sugar, mint extract, mix thoroughly in bottom of mug with splash of hot water. Add the rest of the hot water (cream, whipped cream, and marshmallows as needed). Voila! Mint hot chocolate.
posted by aniola at 8:13 PM on November 13, 2017

Bright colors are fragile, but this is fine, you will be fine, if you don’t want it send it to me :)
posted by SaltySalticid at 8:24 PM on November 13, 2017

This thread might be a worthwhile read for you. The people in that thread seemed to be having issues with flavour as well as colour, so on the bright side at least yours tastes good.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 8:25 PM on November 13, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't have the recipe handy because I'm traveling, but every Christmas we make chocolate crinkle cookies with mint extract and they are amazing.
posted by primethyme at 9:03 PM on November 13, 2017

I make extracts/tinctures and this is totally normal -- I have never had one turn out green-colored. Don't understand the chemistry but it seems like leaves plus vodka plus time = brownish liquid. The only way you'd have a problem is if you left the mint sticking up in the air above the vodka (which would leave it without the preservative powers of the hooch).
posted by hungrytiger at 9:46 PM on November 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Consider tea, and cease worrying.

Dead plants go brown. It's just what they do.
posted by flabdablet at 10:47 PM on November 13, 2017

My mint tea always turns out a lovely brown or coppery shade whether I use fresh or dried leaves. I imagine the same goes for any clear liquid you steep it in.

Mint goes wonderfully with chocolate, citrus, and beets (beet martini, anyone?). Chocolate mint whipped cream would be a fantastic addition to brownies, ice cream sundaes, hot chocolate . . .
posted by carrioncomfort at 6:26 AM on November 14, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yep, one more related data point to say that when you make mint simple syrup it also turns that golden brown. Does not affect taste or safety in the slightest.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:41 AM on November 14, 2017

My limited experience with other tinctures is that they go brown. From memory at the time, it's the chlorophyll breaking down that does it.
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 12:40 PM on November 14, 2017

Nthing normal. cfn mint tea: also brown.
posted by ananci at 2:19 PM on November 14, 2017

Thank you everyone! As a tea drinker I'm retrospectively embarrassed that I expected a vodka-mint infusion to be clear. But hey, onward and upward into minty chocolate cookies!
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 9:42 PM on November 15, 2017

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