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The Damsel went out to her herb garden and shook her head in dismay. As usual, the peppermint was out of control.

Why can’t the cilantro grow like that? The Damsel can think of many delicious solutions to an out-of-control-cilantro problem. But what do you do with peppermint?

The Damsel has used a leaf or two in lemonade, and she’s even made tea with it. That’s nice. But a leaf or two hardly puts a dent in the mint population currently at the Damsel’s cottage.

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Lo and behold she discovered peppermint oil has a lot of uses. People use it to cure nausea, indigestion, cold symptoms, headaches, muscle and nerve pain,¬† stomach and especially bowel conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome. And that’s just the beginning. Apparently mice and ants hate it, so a person could get rid of the little critters without poison or snapping traps.

It can be expensive. A little 4 oz. bottle costs about $10. So what would Grandma do? Peppermint, meet oil. Oil, meet peppermint.

The Damsel grabbed a few big handfuls, yanked them right out by the roots. A person could cut the mint and let it keep growing, but the whole point of this was to reduce the mint population explosion.

She washed it and stripped leaves from the stems. Another person could have used stems and all, but the Damsel has so much mint she can use just the leaves and feel perfectly good about it.

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Find a handy jar. A pint canning jar will do, or a small salsa jar with a tight lid. Use it to measure vegetable oil into a pan. Heat to 160 degrees. The Damsel discovered that 160 is nothing to a pan of oil. It won’t even act hot yet at that temp.

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The Damsel would like to announce that if you mention the dirty burner felony in the above picture, she will not take it kindly.

Chop the mint a bit. The more cut edges, the more minty goodness will ooze into the oil.

IMG_2924Stuff the cut mint into the jar–the one you measured the oil with. Fill it nice and full. It can be pretty tight, but not cram-packed.

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When the oil is warmed, pour it into the jar, filling it as full as is practical. No need to worry about head space or breathing room. You aren’t going to process it or freeze it or anything.

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Poke it a bit to get air bubbles out but don’t fuss.

IMG_2939Screw on the lid and put it away in a dark place for a month. A MONTH???? The Damsel hates waiting. But some things take time.

If you live local to the Damsel, come on over and get a start of mint for your own garden. Permit her a cruel chuckle as she contemplates the eventual overrun of your garden. Unless, of course, you are smarter than she was and plant it in a pot.

Note 7/9/2012: Since this post was written, the Damsel has learned a thing or two about the difference between this procedure and a true essential oil. This is actually what you’d call an herbal infusion, and although many of the healthy benefits of peppermint can be found in an infusion, it’s not the same as an essential oil in strength or purity. It’s nearly impossible to make your own essential oils…the equipment necessary is complicated and expensive. So, if you have access to a lot of peppermint, why not try an infusion and see how you like it? Just remember the difference.

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  • Janci

    I love mint plants, but I’ve never had much luck with container gardening it, and I don’t have a plot of land at the moment. I’ve heard that’s common–that mint doesn’t grow as well when you don’t give it space to take over. If I lived farther up your direction, though, I’d grab a bit and try it anyway, though. I’ve never tried with an already-started plant.

    Awesome post, as always.

  • Miette

    you can bet I’ll be coming for some, ok?

    • Amber

      By the way…. Peppermint oil is simple to get…. just a pain in the arse. You have to steep a lot of leaves, like you’re making tea in boiling hot water… The oil will float to the top. Then it’s typical to use a syringe to slurp it off the surface… now imagine that since you only get a few drops of oil per tea bag, how much fresh mint you’d need? But yeah, cutting it up would help release as much of the oil as possible.

      • thedamselindisdress

        Thanks for the tip, Amber. Since I wrote this post, I’ve gotten even more hooked on peppermint essential oil. I confess I buy it (from doTERRA, see ad in the sidebar) even though my garden is overrun with peppermint. I still love having the fresh stuff around.
        Margot (The Damsel)

  • Carol

    Is this peppermint essential oil? What kind of preparation would one use to make candy? We have used it for headaches before and paid the $10. Too bad we didn’t go to Old School back then. :)

  • Erica

    Hum…too bad I bought a new bottle of it not long ago. I would have come over to get a bottle started if I’d only known. :^)

    • damselindisdress

      oh, and a post is coming on what to do with the stuff.

    • Chloe Rowles

      Yeah, if it is harvested right up to a freeze, then it won’t re-seed. We seldom have a freeze before it goes to seed (down here in the sub tropics). LOL.

  • http://www.indoorherbgardentips.com Jessica

    Hello Damsel! I read Erica’s comment on Facebook and for some reason thought it was her blog, but I realize now it’s YOURS. I love it- you have great ideas! We would love you to do a post next Sunday the 7th if you would like, that peppermint oil one would be awesome but you can do whatever you want (if you want) Anyways, have a great night! Just email me at http://www.oneshetwoshe.com and let me know!

    Thanks
    Jessica
    OH! You’re my new favorite blogger fyi

    • damselindisdress

      Hi Elisa!
      Come on over for starts! Glad you like the blog. Come back every other day or so for another dosage, LOL.

  • Chloe Rowless

    I don’t think this is an essential oil, which takes a chemical process to extract the oil from the leaves, but it is an infused oil. I suspect it is not as strong as the essential oil, but I am not sure. This brings me to my question…..
    how do you use this oil?

    Haha…..why can’t cilantro…….? Well, it can’t do this because it is a cool weather annual, which bolts and sets seed as soon as it gets hot, then dies. However, there will be cilantro everywhere the next season. (at least in the South Texas heat) Does it self sow readily in your climate?

  • Chloe Rowles

    Hmmm….correcting my typo. I somehow got an extra “s” on Rowles.

  • Rose

    Yay for peppermint!

  • http://elisasblogspot.blogspot.com elisa

    Love the blog! I’ve got you bookmarked.

    I bought peppermint oil last month that was close to $20, I would love a start!

  • Minivanmaniac

    I want some… I’ve been meaning to ask you for a start for a while now. I just have to find a good place to put it…

  • maimeyrocky

    Okay…how do you think this would be with chocolate mint???

  • Pingback: peppermint oil…a month later « Old School

  • Alice

    OOPS! Correction, it was organic peppermint EXCTRACT. Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry!

    :-)

  • http://www.bottlesandmore.com Plastic Bottles

    This is an awesome tutorial, very informative. I’m looking forward to putting all this information to use and creating my own homemade peppermint oil very soon.

  • JUANITA WILSON

    I am going to do this, I have all kinds of mint.Thanks

  • Beckylostatsea

    Hilarious tutorial fair damsel.  Thanks for the how-to!

  • Bonzadog

    Not bad, I would like to know how to extract the oil from the peppermint. So one gety 100% pure peppermint oil.

    • thedamselindisdress

      I looked into this briefly, and from what I could tell, you’d need an expensive distilling contraption in order to get 100% pure peppermint oil. I did find a website that had construction plans and instructions but it looked too difficult for me to attempt. Let me know if you decide to do it! Margot (The Damsel)

  • Charles C. Jason

    I have a question does the mint and oil have to snugly fit into the jar?

    • thedamselindisdress

      Thanks for visiting the Old School!

      I haven’t experimented, but I doubt it would matter if it is tightly or loosely packed, as long as the peppermint is covered in oil.

      Good luck!
      Margot (The Damsel)

  • Tara

    I’ve been steeping mint leaves in coconut oil for a month or so, changing the mint leaves once a week. The oil has a cheesy smell. That’s bad, isn’t it?

    • thedamselindisdress

      Hmm…cheesy doesn’t sound what I’d expect, that’s for sure. Mine smelled more earthy-minty. Not like peppermint oil but not cheesy. I didn’t change the leaves but I would think that would only be beneficial. Could it be the coconut oil? I don’t know why. That sounds like a good idea to me. I used olive oil, I think.
      Sorry I’m not more help. I made this post before I started using DoTerra brand peppermint oil, and wow, it is so potent and amazing. I still wish I had a good use for all the peppermint growing gangbusters in my garden, though.
      Margot (The Damsel)

      • Tara

        Thanks! It may be the coconut oil. I have a sensitive nose, or maybe I have a delusional nose. I’m going to make my husband smell it, he might have a different opinion. I’m going to look into Do-Terra though- I love peppermint oil.

        My Plan-B is to make some mint jelly. Found a great recipe online that gives instructions on how to make pectin from apples and doesn’t call for food coloring. I’m also going to freeze the rest in ice-cube trays and maybe dry some for tea.

        Thanks again!
        Tara

        • thedamselindisdress

          :)

          I’d be happy to mail you a small sample of doTerra peppermint. I think you’ll really like it. Message me privately at mhovley at gmail dot com with your address if you would like.
          And, cool on the pectin. I also have a tutorial on making pectin on the Old School. I’d be interested to know if it is the same basic procedure as the one you found.
          Margot

  • damselindisdress

    From what the Damsel has been told, this process does yield essential oil. Did it work for your headache?

    She’ll look into using it for making candy. There has to be a way, right?

  • damselindisdress

    Sure! Load up!

  • damselindisdress

    Drat! Next time. The Damsel is also loaded with fresh sage, if you’d like some of both.

  • damselindisdress

    The Damsel is pretty sure you’re right about this, although the website where she got the directions (she looked at several to get her method) called it essential oil. Infused sounds more correct.

    And…the cilantro…haven’t seen it reseed at all, but then again it mostly gets eaten before it has a chance.

  • damselindisdress

    please. please. get thee to the cottage and take mint that overfloweth.

  • Carol

    Gil is the one with the headaches and he used it quite a few times. Its subtle, calming and sort of a distraction from the pain.

  • damselindisdress

    Good question! I’m planning to do a follow up post in a month, when my mint oil will be finished…and I’ll look into that.

  • damselindisdress

    Cool idea. Thanks for stopping by!