Make Homemade Peppermint Extract for Holiday Baking

This recipe calls for vodka. We are a teatotalling family. Does anyone have a recipe for infusing without using alcohol? 

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Sorry, I don't, but that article reminded me that mint is invasive, so I'm thinking of removing mine from the garden and putting it in a container as well as on the other side of the driveway under a pine tree.  I've not been able to get anything to grow under there, so might as well try mint.

I would certainly give the mint a try under the pine tree, but don't be surprised if it doesn't like the spot. For one thing, mints like lots of water, pine trees do not. Some plants won't grow under the pines because of some chemical ... I suppose related to pine pitch. 

I have two pine trees in my front yard and a burning bush ( Euonymus alata ) and it is very happy. Oregon grape likes the soil too. Bugle weed ( Ajuga ) flourishes for me out there. I have a circle bed and a soaker hose on a timer buried on the outer edge of the pine drip line. That way I am able to get perennials to grow in that dry space and the pine trees have limited amounts of water. 
That exhausts my knowledge
 and experiences with these plants. 

Our snow is all gone; we had about 4 " total. The ground is thawing again and that spells trouble. Plant roots have problems with freeze/thaw. Well, if I lose anything, I shall have room for a cabbage or two.  

 

Thanks.  I'll try grapes there.

Spud, for what it's worth,Oregon grape isn't a grape.  But they do grow in Oregon.

Shucks!

Sentient noticed your response before I did. When I planted my front border, I chose beautiful oregon grape at the nursery and it grew profusely. I took careful cuttings and propagated starts for my daughter who lives in the forest in NW WA state not far from the Idaho border. I took them up to plant the first year they moved in and my gosh, their place had oregon grape all over the place. Kind of like taking coals to Newcastle. They are lovely plants; tend to get a little ragged and they trim back nicely to make pretty and fresh growth. Some allow them to grow into large shrubs and I don't care for them because of their ragged look. You do have options, keep them trim, or let them grow. Whatever suits your fancy. They would be good to plant under a winder where you want to discourage peeping toms. They have rather sharp leaf tips. Just Google them and you will learn all about them. 

As to grapes, I grow Concord from roots I dug from my grandmother's place at Lucile, ID, near Riggins. They do very well for me; I freeze the juice and enjoy it all year long. Sentient stated that Concord grapes don't do well in his area.
Contact your local Extension Agent and they will help you find just the right grape for your altitude, soil and sun conditions.  They will also advise you on any changes you need to make to your soil. 

Joan, was that just a root?  Interesting.  I've grown grapes from stem cuttings but not from root cuttings.

I just dug up a vine from my yard.  I'm guessing it's Niagra.  A green (ie, white) grape with "foxy" (Concord-like) flavor, very vigorous.  The grapes have seeds.  It was in a bad spot.  I managed to get a good bunch of roots, about 8 roots each being a foot long - but that is a fraction of what it must have had.  I also cut back the top to about 3 feet.  I moved it to my new place.  If you are able to grow grapes from root cuttings, and I have grown them from stem cuttings, maybe it has a chance!

Propagating is a really interesting hobby. I take whatever I can get my hands on and give it a try. If it works, I have a new plant. If it doesn't I am out only time and effort. In the case of the grapes, I drove by the property where my grandparents used to live on the Salmon River. US 95 goes through where their house once stood. They had a lot of other buildings, one for smoking meat, another for storing firewood, things like that. All that is left are remnants of her plants. Iris that used to be in her garden has spread up the road-cut to the hillside going up the mountain, making a pretty blue field. I stopped and dug one root and this is now multiplied beautifully. I keep just a small patch of them because I have so many other things I want to keep. 

These are the Concord grapes from her garden. They have spread up the mountain following the creek that flows from a gold mine my grandfather dug. I keep it very tightly pruned because I get all the grapes I can use for a year on this railing that goes all around my deck. The deck is on the second floor, so I trained the main vine with three branches that are now getting quite thick. I train the top branches to go around the corner and toward the middle. I have another grape on the other end of the deck and the vines meet in the middle. It is very easy to keep them pruned and they don't cover the whole house, as they would want to do. 

Looking northeast toward the house, you can see a little bit of grape that grows all the way around the deck and drapes to the ground. This is spring before it has its full growth. You can't see the garage when they are fully grown.  

  

Joan, digging up irises and grapes is like something I would do!  I do love those irises.... really beautiful.

I tried to get a cutting from my Dad's grapes before he died, but he got fed up with them and cut them all down.  I'm probably better off with the ones that I bought.   I will save some prunings for cuttings for my new place.  That will be my favorite varieties.  I'm putting in posts for them while the ground is soft, now.  And maybe buy an additional one by mail order.  The local places don't have much variety.

What a wonderful adventure you pursue; lots of room to experiment and plant or pull by choice! I look forward to your photos. 

Thank you Joan.  I think I'm becoming more antisocial and withdrawing into my cocoon of yard and garden.  There are probably worse things a person could do....

Back on the mints, they tie into my new bee obsession too. By adding peppermints and spearmints to the little orchard, I'm hoping to deter bad creatures that don't like the smell.  They will bloom for the bees and other beneficial insects.  No problem if they are invasive there.  

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