The word 'mint' has many different meanings and when it comes to baking, we are definitely talking about the fragrant herb. It is used in a variety of delicious baked treats and spreads for your favorite breads and it has many other uses around the house.
The mint plant is common and a favorite of many gardeners, so it's easy to grow your own.
Mint gets its name from a nymph named Minthe (Mintho). Minthe made love to Pluto, god of the underworld, and was turned into the lowly mint plant by the jealous Proserpine. Appropriately, mint is also known as mentha.
There are many varieties of mint, such as peppermint, apple mint, and curly mint. Each variety of mint has been used to cure numerous ailments, ranging from an upset stomach to nervousness.
Mint plants are generally very easy to grow. The plants enjoy a damp soil and most tolerate a bit of shade. Keep the herbs weeded and separated from other varieties of mints to avoid cross-pollination.
Most mints are perennials. When planted in a good location, the herb will return year after year. In fact, many gardeners find that mint is so easy to grow that they can't get rid of it when they want to. It does like to spread when it finds a good spot, so plan accordingly.
Mint can be harvested and dried at the end of the growing season. Simply cut long sprigs of mint, tie them into bundles, and hang them upside down. Once dry, remove the leaves and store them in a glass jar or sealed plastic bag. This allows you to enjoy your mint year-round.
In the home, mint has long been used as an aromatic. It can be used as a what is known as a strewing herb. In the past, people would scatter fragrant herbs around the house to deodorize and mint was often included.
Today, it is commonly used in sachets and potpourris. Some soap makers add small amounts of dried mint to their soaps to make a cleansing soap for oily skin.
Fresh Mint Recipes
Delicious edibles are also flavored with mint. Favorite items include mint tea, mint sauce, and mint jelly. Mint leaves are also used to flavor cheeses, breads, and salads.
- Fresh Mint Truffles - Forget the mint extracts, these goodies rely on fresh mint leaves.
- Mint Sticky Rolls with Lemon Glaze - It's a delicious and easy recipe that any baker can mix up.
- Chocolate Mint Syrup - Top your baked goods with this easy homemade syrup that may be a little too tempting.
- Mint Butter - Spread this on toast or use it to add cool flavors to fish or mashed potatoes.
- Minted Pea Puree - Straight from your garden, this delicious spread is fantastic on toast or as a side for fish meals.
We cannot share minty recipes without pointing out these favorite drinks and a particularly interesting main dish:
- Fresh Mint Tea - There's no need to have tea bags around when you can enjoy mint straight from the garden.
- Mint Julep - The iconic bourbon cocktail requires fresh mint and will accept no substitutes.
- Grilled Lamb Burgers with Mint - A surprising twist on the average burger, mint pairs perfectly with lamb.