Mint Leaves has been used for centuries by ancient Egyptians and Romans for its aromatic smell and its calming nurturing effect on the human skin.
Mint recipes are all about keeping cool. Sweet and fresh, there’s no mistaking the pleasant scent of mint, which has wide range of culinary uses in both sweet and savory recipes. Mint comes in several varieties, with spearmint most commonly used in cooking, but you’ll sometimes find peppermint used in sweet recipes, too.
Mint is lovely picked right off the bush, but it can also be purchased freeze-dried, convenient for dishes that require very little or no cooking such as salad dressings. Dried mint is also useful for making herbal tea.
Whether the mint in your life comes from the grocery store or the backyard, do yourself a favor and pick up a few sprigs today, because there are tons of awesome recipes waiting for you when you do!
Table of Contents
How to choose/pick Mint leaves from the plant
Cut or pick the leaves off and leave a few that are on the bottom 1-2 (2.5-5 cm) inches of the plant. This will allow any dead leaves to be removed and will promote growth.Younger mint leaves are more flavorful.
How to store Mint Leaves
- Treat Mint Like Flowers : When you buy them from a store & bring a bunch of mint leaves home ,cut the low end of the stems by removing the leaves to allow some space for the cut end. In a relatively tall container such as a jar or a mug, carefully stick the mint stems in and add enough water to cover the cut ends Change water every 2 days to make them last for weeks. If you are lucky some develop roots this way which help you plant them in your kitchen garden. Why buy them if you can grow them ?
- Wrap the mint leaves in a wet paper towel : Then place them into a big plastic bag taking care not to crush the leaves.Seal it 7 store in refrigerator. Lasts for 2 weeks or more. Cilantro/Coriander leaves can be stored this way too!
- Freeze the leaves Into Ice Cube Trays : Add a little water & mint leaves into ice cube trays & freeze them. This allows you to add the mint cubes to your iced tea and other cold drinks.
- Stored as a puree : Purée the leaves in a food processor or blender with fresh garlic and a little extra-virgin olive oil. Fill small jars with the mixture and put the jars in your freezer.
- Use Up Fresh Herbs By Making Compound Butter :Combine fresh herbs with cold unsalted butter in your food processor and chop them. Shape the butter into small logs and wrap them in several layer of plastic wrap before refrigerating them or freezing them. Compound butters should be great for flavoring pasta, grilled fish or chicken, sauces, etc…
- Dried Herbs : These leaves can also be used after drying them.Crushing the dried herbs between the palm of your fingers, brings out their flavor.
Drying Mint leaves to store them for winter :
The Hanging Method :
If you are not in a hurry to dry your mint leaves, this method is nice, because you can see your beautiful herb while it dries.
Cut the mint stems near the ground, keeping them close to the same length. Once you’ve cut all you intend to dry, remove the leaves from the lower two inches of the stem. Wash the stems under gently running water to remove any dirt or insects. Give the bunch a shake and lay on a towel on the counter for about an hour to let them dry. Gather the mint stems into a bunch and tie them together with string . Hang them in a dry place out of direct sunlight. It will take from a few days to a couple of weeks to dry depending on the humidity level in your home.
Once the leaves are completely dried, crumble them up, and store in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.
The Quick Drying Method :
Gather up as much freshly harvested mint leaves as you plan to dry. Wash the leaves and lay them on a towel to dry. It’s easier to wash and dry the mint if the leaves are still on the stem at this point.Preheat your oven to 170 degrees F convection .Once the mint is mostly dry, remove the leaves from the stems. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet in one layer .Place the baking sheet in the oven on the center rack. Dehydrate for about 40 minutes. If not completely dry, keep baking but check every ten minutes. Let the mint leaves cool completely. Crumble the leaves and store them in an airtight container out of direct sunlight.One teaspoon of dried mint leaves is equivalent to one teabag.
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Benefits of Mint Leaves
1.Health Benefits :
- Digestion: eases nauseousness, promotes digestion, soothes the stomach, eases symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome
- Skin: relieves insect bites and stings, discourages acne
- Mental: balances mood, improves memory and focus, increases alertness, acts as a natural stimulant
- Oral Health: whitens teeth, eliminates bad breath
- Allergy & Sinus Relief: eases cough and congestion
- Weight loss & Detox: discourages toxins in the body, cleanses the blood
- Headaches: eases pain
2. Acts as an insect repellant
3. Attracts beneficial bugs like bees and butterflies into your garden patch.
4. Can be a useful gift to a friend, for her kitchen garden.
5. Makes for a great ground cover in the rocky part of your garden, since it grows rapidly like a weed & does not need much attention. What’s more it looks beautiful !
Various ways to use Mint leaves
- Mint Tea
- Sugar Scrubs
- Soap making
- Air Freshener’s/ Potpourris
- Mint Extracts
Links to our recipes using mint
Some of our recipes using mint leaves are listed below for your interest. Click on the one that interests you to be directly taken to the recipe post.
- Watermelon -Feta-Mint-Salad
- Hyderabadi- Dum- Chicken Biryani
- Ambur Chicken Biryani
- Mint in Chicken curry
- South Indian (Dindigul Thalapakattu) Chicken Biryani
- Mushroom Biryani
- Prawn Mint Pulao
The Bottom Line
The season to grow our own herb and kitchen garden is slowly beginning to show up.
Have you planted your mint yet?
Now that you know all about the benefits of using mint leaves in your recipes, share with us how you used it, in the comments section below.
If you tried any of our recipes or have additional tip to share, we would love to hear them.