Mint - Peppermint and Spearmint

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fresh mint leavesHistory:

Peppermint and spearmint came to the New World with the colonists, who also used them medicinally. They drank mint tea for headaches, heartburn, indigestion, gas, and to help them sleep. they also drank mint tea for pure pleasure, especially since it wasn't taxed.


Using Mint:

Peppermint is the premier mint for flavoring candy, gum, and other sweets. Commercially prepared oil or extract are better for these uses than anything you can concoct at home from the fresh herb. For most culinary purposes, garden peppermint is a bit strong. When to do use it, harvest only the young leaves. The older leaves and the stems tend to be bitter. Spearmint and curly mint are more versatile for culinary uses. Milder than peppermint, they enhance all sorts of meat, fish, or vegetable dishes.

All the mints are best used fresh and should be stored only briefly, in plastic bags in the refrigerator. They may be frozen in ice-cube trays. Dried leaves should be kept in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
 

Culinary Ideas for Mint:

Mint's tangy sweet flavor has a cool aftertaste that makes it delightful in many delicious ways. A few are:

Crush mint leaves and fold them in whipped cream for an excellent topping on chocolate desserts.

Sprinkle freshly-minced mint leaves on garden-fresh tomato slices.

Mint Julep Make traditional Mint Sauce for lamb.

Jellies, sherbets, ice cream, and Sorbet.

Make a tall glass of Mint Julep or Iced Tea or Sweet Tea.

Make Mint Water. Twist or bruise 1 cup of peppermint, spearmint, or other mint. Place in a clean half-gallon container. fill with fresh, cool water. Chill in refrigerator. Strain and serve on ice. So refreshing! Try washing your face in Mint Water - Again, very refreshing!

 




Growing Mint:

Mint is found growing wild on many a shady creek bank. Mint must have lots of water and will spread quickly into a bed. I find the best way to plant mint is to plant in a container. This will keep the mint from taking over your gardens.

Learn how to dry and store fresh mint: Drying Mint
 


Tips:

A tiny vase of fresh mint sprigs gives a cool fragrance to a room. The secret is to crush 2 or 3 leaves and drop them inside the vase before arranging the sprigs. Also tuck sprigs of mint in your centerpiece on the dining room table.
 


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