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
- 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
- Apple Mint: smells like green apples and can be used to flavor teas, jellies and sauces. It is best in fresh and uncooked recipes. Apple Mint Spinach Salad, Apple Mint Salsa, Herbed Butter
- Banana Mint: really smells like bananas! Use in ice cream, banana mint muffins, salads, and of course, banana mint tea
- Bergamot: presents with a citrus aroma. Bergamot is widely used in aromatherapy and is well-known for its calming properties. Therefore, it is used as an antidepressant and anxiety. NOTE: do not use bergamot if you are using antidepressants because the combination of your meds with bergamot can cause serious side effects. . The petals of the bergamot are also used for decorating salads and are edible. Can be used to make jellies, vinegars and mint sauces.
- Bowles Mint: Bowles is commonly used in English cooking. It features a fragrance it really is a mixture of spearmint and apple, along with medium green leaves and a round shape with a hairy texture that may put off those who are not used to it.
- Chamomile: Most commonly known for its calming effect, used to help with sleep and also an upset stomach. Chamomile Precaution: it can cause allergic reactions to people who have allergies and also there are drug interactions to consider.
- Chocolate Mint: Chocolate mint ice cream without the calories! Widely used for culinary uses such as tea, ice cream, dessert-type fruit salads, chocolate whipped cream to spoon over desserts, fresh mint truffles, chocolate mint sauce, chocolate mint syrup.
- Corsican Mint: Crème de menthe is one wide use, whipped cream.
- Ginger Mint: use leaves to garnish yogurt, toss some on a melon or tomatoes, mix with butter for a unique herbal butter, and infuse in olive oil, lemon ginger-lime throat soother, orange ginger mint tea, or ginger mint lemon ale.
- Grapefruit Mint: Sprinkle on fruit salad, make iced mint tea, freeze in ice cube trays with water and add to fresh water after a workout, or liven up fish or chicken dishes.
- Lavender Mint: frequently called the “perfect lazy gardener’s companion”, mint plants are a breeze to maintain. Keep the soil moist and prevent it from drying out. Consider adding a layer of mulch to help mint plants in the ground maintain moisture.
- Lemon Mint: flavor teas, fruit salads, mint chutney, lemon tabouli, mint ice cubes, homemade lemon mint scrubs, or citrus based marinades for poultry and seafood.
- Lime Mint: fruit salads, lemon-lime mint bars, mint lemon-limeade, iced citrus mint tea.
- Orange Mint (also bergamot): fruit salads, orange mint salmon, orange rosewater and mint sparkler, peas with orange and mint, orange mint coconut water, couscous with hazelnuts, orange and mint, stir fry veggies with orange and mint.
- Peppermint Eucalyptus: use for revitalization, aromatherapy, make it into a mentholated rub to treat cold and flu, put the leaves in oil and steam inhalants.
- Peppermint: this herb is used widely around the holidays for candy canes, ice cream, custards, and sweet sauces. Mix peppermint with mineral oil and rub on your skin for a quick pick-me-up. The volatile oil that is present in all its parts cause a hot, aromatic taste at first, followed by a sensation of cold, which is caused by the menthol in the plant. Needs a lot of moisture for the plants to remain healthy.
- Pineapple Mint: this mint goes well with ham, fruit salads, potpourri,
- Spearmint versus Peppermint
- Spearmint: almost everyone has heard of spearmint. The number of uses are almost limitless: desserts, sauces, fruit salads, potatoes, peas, green leafy salads, sauce, soup, jellies, mint vinegar, purees, alcohol-free mint julep, and of course, 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 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
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.
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
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)
(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.
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.