The easiest way to extract flavour from herbs and spices and to create a shelf-stable product, is to use alcohol. Alcohol is both a very effective a solvent and preserving agent.
To create an essence, choose your alcohol from vodka, being the most commonly used, or Bacardi, which has a slight vanilla flavour or another spirit, then select your herb and add it to the alcohol and allow it to steep for anywhere from a few days to weeks or months.
Making vanilla essence using Bacardi is quick and easy. Fill a small jar or bottle with Bacardi, e.g. an old maple syrup bottle is good. For a bottle of that size you will need to add two vanilla pods that you have cut open and scrapped the seeds from. Add the pods and the seeds to the bottle, shake and allow to steep in your pantry for a month or two before using. Leave the pods in the bottle and as you near the bottom of the bottle, top it up again with Bacardi and add a new pod. I usually have three or four bottles on the go so there is always a spare bottle on hand.
If you live in New Zealand, visit our website www.NewZealandHerbalBrew.co.nz to purchase certified organic herbal teas and see more herbal recipes: https://newzealandherbalbrew.co.nz/spearmint-essence-recipe/
Purchase Spearmint Tea: https://newzealandherbalbrew.co.nz/product/spearmint-tea/