If the only minty things you sample are peppermint candy or spearmint gum, it’s time to get mint-savvy. Fresh mint is as versatile an herb as there is; it can flavour a glass of water, give lift to salads or lamb dishes, and serve as a natural medicine for stress or upset stomach. Best of all, it’s incredibly easy to grow. Nestle a few plants in a pot, put them out in the sun, and you’ll soon have plenty. Here are just a few things to do with your mint leaves:
Need a quick, refreshing lift while gardening? Pluck a few leaves off your mint plant, give a quick rinse, and chew them up. Or, merely drop several leaves into a pitcher of ice water for a subtle minty refresher.
Brighten the flavour of scrambled eggs and omelettes—especially egg substitutes—with chopped mint.
Peas and mint are a common pairing, but don’t stop there. Try adding finely chopped mint leaves as you cook carrots, potatoes, eggplant, beans, or corn.
Add fresh mint leaves into salads for a little extra flavour among the more neutral-flavoured greens.
Make minty zucchini-feta pancakes: Shred a few zucchini, add mashed feta cheese, breadcrumbs, an egg, shallots, 2–3 tablespoons (30–45 ml) chopped mint, and salt and pepper to taste. Shape into pancakes, dust with flour. Fry in a little olive oil. Is it brunch yet?
A natural with lamb, mint is also a wonderful flavour enhancer and garnish in any recipe featuring pork.
Upset tummy? Make a soothing, delicious, caffeine-free mint tea: Put a handful of leaves in a cup and pour in boiling water. Steep for a few minutes; remove leaves with a strainer. Sweeten with honey.
Make your next pesto with mint instead of basil or parsley. It’s a terrific condiment on a roasted lamb sandwich, or toss with some pasta and shrimp.
Add finely minced mint to your next batch of chocolate frosting before slathering it on a cake or cupcakes. Garnish with mint leaves. Kids will love it!
It’s cocktail hour! Try a Cojito. Make as you would a mojito but use white rum, coconut rum, lime juice and mint.
Want an environmentally friendly insect repellent? Rub mint leaves on you hands or scatter mint leaves outdoors. No more mosquitoes or ants!
To discourage mice from hanging out in your home, put mint leaves in places where you see droppings.
Chewing on a few mint leaves will freshen your breath faster than you can say “mouthwash.”
Chopping garlic or onions? Freshen those pungent fingers with mint. Wash your hands, then take a few mint leaves and rub them between your hands. Bad odours are gone.