Mint

Herb of the Month

By Barbara Porsch—Herb Enthusiast

mint

 

 

 

 

 

Mint is returning in full force, especially if you made the mistake of planting it in the ground. The only drawback to growing mint is that it is a rampant spreader and must be restricted. Mint was selected as Herb of the Year in 1998. It is one of the oldest recorded herbs. There are biblical references to paying taxes with mint leaves. The old herbalists used it for treatment of many ailments. There are so many varieties of mint that the nomenclature becomes very confusing. There are at least 25 main varieties and hundreds of hybrids and varieties. There are many shapes and characteristics of leaves, but all have square stems. There are many exotic varieties such as grapefruit, ginger, lime or chocolate, but three species are best for culinary purposes: Mentha spicata (spearmint), Mentha piperita (peppermint) and Mentha suaveolens (apple and pineapple mint). Some say the ONLY mint to use in a Mojito is spearmint. Some swear by a certain mint for tea. Too often mint is relegated to a cool drink like iced tea when it has such possibility in savory foods. Mexican women often add a few leaves toward the end of cooking their chicken soup or tomato soup. It is also great in chilled cucumber soup or green pea soup. Toss some leaves into steamed English peas, or fruit salads. The Middle Eastern salad tabbouleh is a meal in itself. (Google The Barefoot Contessa’s tabbouleh recipe on Food Network. I got it from Emmy Ulmschneider after she brought it to a MG

Retreat several years ago.) Indians make raita by combining mint with chopped cucumbers in yogurt to serve with their fiery curries. Vietnamese serve No, I did not select Mint as the herb of the month for May because of the Kentucky Derby and its famed mint juleps. It is worth a mention however. But by now in your garden if you have mint, it is returning in full force, especially if you made the mistake of planting it in the ground. The only drawback to growing mint is that it is a rampant spreader and must be restricted. Mint was selected as Herb of the Year in 1998. It is one of the oldest recorded herbs. There are biblical references to paying taxes with mint leaves. The old herbalists used it for treatment of many ailments. There are so many varieties of mint that the nomenclature becomes very confusing. There are at least 25 main varieties and hundreds of hybrids and varieties. There are many shapes and characteristics of leaves, but all have square stems. There are many exotic varieties such as grapefruit, ginger, lime or chocolate, but three species are best for culinary purposes: Mentha spicata (spearmint), Mentha piperita (peppermint) and Mentha suaveolens (apple and pineapple mint). Some say the ONLY mint to use in a Mojito is spearmint. Some swear by a certain mint for tea. Too often mint is relegated to a cool drink like iced tea when it has such possibility in savory foods. Mexican women often add a few leaves toward the end of cooking their chicken soup or tomato soup. It is also great in chilled cucumber soup or green pea soup. Toss some leaves into steamed English peas, or fruit salads. The Middle Eastern salad tabbouleh is a meal in itself. (Google The Barefoot Contessa’s tabbouleh recipe on Food Network. I got it from Emmy Ulmschneider after she brought it to a MG Retreat several years ago.) Indians make raita by combining mint with chopped cucumbers in yogurt to serve with their fiery curries. Vietnamese serve

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