Peppermint extract is an herbal extract of peppermint (Mentha x piperita) made from the essential oils of peppermint leaves. It is commonly used in cooking, as a dietary supplement, and as a herbal or alternative medicine. The liquid is obtained by extracting the oils from dried or fresh leaves and the flowering tops of the plant using alcohol.
Peppermint extract can be used to add a peppermint flavour to baked goods, desserts, and candy, particularly candy canes, mints, and peppermint patties. Extracts for cooking may be labelled as pure, natural, imitation, or artificial. While pure and natural extracts contain peppermint oil specifically, imitation and artificial extracts generally use a mix of ingredients to achieve a flavour resembling peppermint.
Peppermint extract can be substituted in recipes with peppermint oil (a stronger ingredient primarily used in candy-making), crème de menthe, or peppermint schnapps. Please note: if the recipe does not call for heating, the alcoholic properties of liqueurs may remain present in the finished product.
Peppermint extract may also be mixed with boiling water to create “peppermint tea.”
Essential oils may only be put to culinary use if they are 100% pure, therapeutic grade A essential oils. Always dilute before use and follow the manufacturer's directions.