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Herbs: Mint Methods

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Mints of all varieties are herbs.  There are more than 30 species and it is abundant in the summer.  In fact, I was given a huge bunch of the herb by a co-worker last week because she knows how much I love mint.  I got a variety of perks out of the bunch of spearmint that she gave me: I had a ball working with it, it smelled WONDERFUL the entire time I worked with it, and I ended up with 6 different types of finished product that I will be using over the coming months: I put some in the freezer, some in a jar of water so it stays fresh for the next week, mint sauce, and infused mint vinegar.

 

One caveat about mint plants if you decide to grow your own: they are all extremely invasive and will take over your garden if you do not constantly cut them back and keep control over the plants.  Suggestion: grow mint in large, shallow, and wide pots.  Grow only one kind of mint in each pot.

From Senior Years: mints are native to the Mediterranean and Western Asia; however, they interbreed frequently which makes it next to impossible to differentiate all varieties.  You can grow them in pots with other herbs.  Native to the Mediterranean and Western Asia, mints mate often with other varieties of mint herbs, which makes it difficult to determine the many varieties.  All mints contain the oil menthol, which gives mint that characteristic cooling, cleansing feeling.  There are many uses: keep mint leaves near food, beds and wardrobes. Use it to freshen every room of your home by simmering mint in water.  Make it more complex by toying around with adding cinnamon or cloves or a variety of other aromatics.

An almost limitless ways to use Culinary and Medicinal Mint

  • Add to chocolate sauce and pour over ice cream
  • Cucumber Mint Salad
  • Dessert syrups
  • Flavor tea with it: add mint to boiling water before adding tea and then combine
  • Granulated mint flavored sugar to sprinkle on grapefruit or in fruit salads
  • Herbal Teas, make your own herbal tea blends
  • Include in fruit salads
  • Jellies
  • Mint sauce for lamb and ham
  • Mix with rice or couscous
  • Muffins and meringues
  • Olive oils infused with mint
  • Peppermint is great for flavoring ice cream, biscuits, and chocolate
  • Refrigerate hot mint tea for iced tea
  • Salad dressing: add mint leaves to yogurt to make a minty salad dressing
  • Salad Dressings
  • Salads: include a handful of mint leaves to a variety of salads
  • Scrambled eggs and omelets (add mint near the end of cooking to prevent it from turning bitter)
  • Sprinkle on new potatoes, beans, and peas
  • Vinegar with mint: change the type of mint for a variety of vinegar

Types of Mint

Multiple Mint Methods

Chocolate Mint and Lavender Iced Tea

Makes about 1 gallon

1 cup fresh lavender flowers

1 cup chocolate mint leaves

7 peppermint tea bags

1 gallon cold water

  • In a large jug (or whatever you have), combine all of the ingredients
  • Refrigerate overnight
  • Strain before serving and garnish with some more lavender flowers and mint leaves
  • Serve over ice

Chocolate Mint, Photo from Sierra Vista Growers

Chocolate Mint Iced Tea

Chocolate mint makes glorious iced tea:

  • Bring 2-3 quarts of water to a rolling boil
  • Shut off the flame and throw in a large handful of mint leaves
  • Steep 20 minutes, then strain
  • Pour into a pitcher, and chill
  • Hint: I (the author of this recipe) use the pasta pot with the built-in strainer

Mint-Infused Ice Milk

Low Calorie Cooking

Kimberly Eggelston, Low Calorie Cooking Expert

Yield: 6 cups

The mint infusion in this recipe offers a sophisticated flavor to this cool and refreshing ice milk. Serve alone, or with a drizzle of chocolate sauce for a classic mint and chocolate combination.

4 1/2 cups non-fat milk

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves

1 cup sugar

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1 large egg, beaten

2 egg whites, beaten

  • Place the milk and mint leaves in a large, heavy saucepan. Stir constantly over high heat, just until it boils. Remove from the heat, and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Pour the milk mixture through a fine strainer, reserving the milk in a large bowl, and discard the mint leaves. Return the milk to the saucepan.
  • Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a separate bowl. Slowly whisk the sugar mixture into the milk mixture.
  • Next, whisk the beaten egg and egg whites into the milk mixture.
  • Cook over low heat until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
  • Transfer the mixture to an ice cream freezer, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions.

Bowles Mint Cough Remedy

2 liters water

30 Bowles mint leaves

2 thumb-sized ginger, peeled and sliced

Brown sugar to taste

  • Bring water to boil in a pot
  • Add ginger and Bowles mint leaves
  • Leave it simmers for half an hour
  • Add brown sugar to taste. Serve warm

Cucumber & Mint Tea Sandwiches

Yield: 36 tea sandwiches

1 loaf white bread (such as buttermilk bread)

1 thinly sliced English cucumber (peeling is optional)

The leaves from 2 large sprigs fresh mint (chopped or whole)

Softened butter

(Optional) lemon juice, to taste

(Optional) salt and pepper, to taste

  • Every two slices of bread, spread both slices evenly and thinly with butter.
  • Cover one side of the sandwich with sliced cucumber in one to two layers.
  • Add a thin layer of fresh mint.
  • Season with lemon juice, salt and/or pepper.
  • Put the slices together, cut off the crusts and slice the sandwich diagonally two times to create four triangle finger sandwiches.

 

I invite you to leave a comment to share the ways that you use mint and other herbs.  There are many ways to use herbs and I only scratched the surface.

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical provider.  Therefore, the information provided in this blog entry is informational only.  If you have any kind of medical condition or allergies or immune system issues, check with your medical provider before using any recipes provided above.  Additionally, the FDA does not regulate uses of fresh mint.

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