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I want to make frozen yogurt ice cream mixes using mint and vanilla extracts from the grocery store.

The problem is, these extracts are made with an alcohol byproduct that is usually evaporated when they’re used in things like baking.

But for making frozen desserts, the alcohol sticks around, making the taste pretty medicine-y and bad.

If I evaporate the alcohol before adding it to the dairy, I’m worried the mint flavors will go with it. But is that the way to do it?

How can I get the alcohol out of mint and vanilla extracts for custom frozen & room temperature deserts?

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    Could you link to an example of the type of extracts you are using? The ones I'm familiar with are fine for use in food that isn't being baked (whipped cream, for example).
    – dbmag9
    Commented Jun 25, 2022 at 12:28
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    Are you sure you can taste the alcohol and not some part of the menthol / mint? Say you use 5ml of an 80% AbV extract (that's one teaspoon of extract, and 4 ml of alcohol) into 500ml of base (about a quart), that's an alcohol by volume of 0.008% This is a very small amount, and also around the amount of alcohol naturally present in freshly squeezed fruit juice. Ref: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5421578
    – Kingsley
    Commented Jun 27, 2022 at 0:10
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    @Kingsley 4ml of alcohol within (500+5)ml of liquid is a proportion of (just under) 0.008, which is 0.8% AbV (not 0.008%). That could well be an appreciable amount — though it is, as you say, at the top end of the range naturally occurring in apple or grape juice, and also comparable to levels in kefir, kombucha, and low-alcohol beer. (Ref.)
    – gidds
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 13:46
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    You might want to try (water-based) emulsions rather than (alcohol-based) extracts. In my limited experience these seem more commonly available via "food service" supply channels (can't recall ever seeing them at a grocery store.) As such you may need to buy a quart/liter as the "small" size. Personally I don't notice the alcohol from Vanilla extract in ice cream, and I don't use mint extract at all (if I want mint, I go weed some out of the garden.) You could also get straight peppermint oil, IIRC.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Jul 5, 2022 at 17:51

3 Answers 3

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I generally pasteurize my ice cream bases at 83 °C for food safety reasons before ripening it. This would be enough to reduce the amount of alcohol to round about 35-40 % of its original volume, but as explained in another question it is impossible to remove it entirely. If you cook the mixture for a longer time the rate of reduction will be increased but as also a share of the water would evaporate and this also would affect the balancing and properties like the freezing curve, texture and taste of the base.

As an alternative, you could avoid the alcohol issue by using vanilla pods, mint leaves or (homemade) mint syrup.

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  • What does the "ripening" mean for an ice-cream base? Just letting it refrigerate?
    – Kingsley
    Commented Jun 27, 2022 at 0:17
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    During ripening or aging some changes happen on the microscopic level of the mix, like a reorganization of fat globules, final hydration of stabilizers (if used). See in the [Ice Cream Technology e-Book][1] by H. Douglas Goff for [more details on this topic][2]. [1]: books.lib.uoguelph.ca/icecreamtechnologyebook [2]: books.lib.uoguelph.ca/icecreamtechnologyebook/chapter/…
    – J. Mueller
    Commented Jun 27, 2022 at 11:44
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    all of the alcohol will not evaporate until all of the water has boiled out. some of the alcohol will evaporate at 83 C.
    – Esther
    Commented Jun 28, 2022 at 18:56
  • @Esther The alcohol doesn't evaporate even if it is heated beyond(!) it's boiling point (not zone)? This is interesting. Can you explain the physics behind this phenomenon?
    – J. Mueller
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 17:25
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    @J.Mueller cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/659/cooking-away-alcohol specifically this answer
    – Esther
    Commented Jun 29, 2022 at 17:36
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In general molecules responsible for flavour are generally soluble in fat and or alcohol.

When you boil off the alcohol it takes some of these molecules with it, as an example:

If you have boiling water with menthol (major flavor compound in mint), you will smell the menthol, even though the boiling point of menthol is about 210 °C.

There are extracts/artificial flavours which are solved in water/fat mixtures, also there are ice cream flavoring agents that you can buy made specificially for your task.

EDIT: For mint cutting it finely, and boiling it in a water/sugar sirup will do just fine. If you have a cream whipper, you can fill it with sugar sirup, your vanilla/mint, apply about 2 capsules of N2O (be careful if your whipper is able to hold that charge), let it sit for a few minutes, and then release the pressure abruptly. See https://www.isi.com/en/culinary/products/detail/product/rapid-infusion for more information.

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  • Is that 210° degrees celsius ?
    – Kingsley
    Commented Jun 26, 2022 at 23:47
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It was actually because of the mint flavoring. The vanilla flavoring did not have the issue

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