This humble herb was first referenced in ancient Greek mythology. Minthe was known as the nymph lover of Hades/Pluto, the Greek ruler of the Underworld. Upon discovering their affair, his wife, goddess Persephone transformed Minthe into a plant upon which she stamped and tread with rage. However with each tread Minthe would release a beautiful scent into the garden. And so we have the story of minthe or mentha or mint as it is most commonly referred to today.
The mint’s comprise several varieties the most common of which are peppermint and spearmint. Mint is known to be an effective calmative for gastro intestinal issues such as gas, bloating, nausea and even irritable bowel syndrome. On a physical level the essential oils are an effective cooling agent often used to reduce inflammation and relieve tired and sore muscles and feet.
Growing your own mint
- One of the most versatile and robust of herbs mint is simple to grow in small locations such as kitchen windows and balconies as it thrives in pots or containers.
- Mint grows well in mostly sunny locations but enjoys a good drink daily with good drainage.
- Mint from cuttings can be grown more easily that from seed, this I know from experience.
- As a perennial, mint plants can last for years. Just cut it right back, be brave, and it will come back to life again in a few weeks.
Our mint is just coming back to form so I was delighted with the big bag of mint that arrived in my weekly veggie box from Homegrown Foods…but….my first thought was ‘oh what to do with so much mint?’
While there are many suggestions on how to store fresh mint, success has alluded me. Hating to waste any food but in particular herbs, I searched for and tried out some new ideas. Here are some of the foodie options.
5 foodie things to do with fresh mint
What comes to mind when you first think of mint is cooking and of course you can add mint to any dish. Dried mint is great in Middle Eastern dishes and can be added to soups and stews along with other dried herbs. Fresh mint can be thrown on at the end of a dish and can be used as a substitute for coriander.
Alkalizing Sprout Salad with Ayurvedic Individualization
This salad by Kimmana Nichols, Naturopath and Ayurvedic practitioner from the Sanctuary in Thailand, is one of my favourite uses of mint and other fresh herbs. This is a nourishing and delicious salad for all year round that can also be customised to suit your dosha.
Mint Pea Dip
Mint Water or Tea
A handful of mint in a jug of water left at room temperature. The mint will last multiple refills all day long and supplements your Vitamin A and C intake.
Alternatively, add fresh mint leaves to hot water for a refreshing and soothing mint tea. Menthol soothes the lining of the digestive tract, making this the perfect remedy to settle the stomach after a big meal. Consider keeping some fresh mint or peppermint tea handy as an after Christmas lunch or dinner drink.
Some sources also suggest that fresh mint leaves steeped in hot water for 50 min and left to cool is an effective treatment for headaches.
This version is a favourite for the extra goodness and texture from the pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
1 1/2 cups basil leaves
1 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
- Sprout the pumpkin seeds for a few hours.
- Once dry, toast the pumpkin and sunflower seeds
- Combine the basil, mint and oil in a blender until smooth.
- Add the toasted seeds and garlic and blend until pureed.
- Add the lemon juice and salt and blend once more.
- Store in the fridge in an air tight container or freeze in an ice cube tray (for stews and soups) to use later.
Thanks to World’s Healthiest Foods for this lovely mint salsa recipe that is great on any grilled or panfried fish – remember to source only fish from sustainable sources.
- 1 tbs finely chopped fresh mint
- 1 tbs finely chopped fresh coriander
- 1 tbs finely chopped spring onion
- 1 tbs finely minced/grated fresh ginger
- 1 ripe tomato, seeds and excess pulp removed, diced into small pieces
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbs lemon juice
- salt and white pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients and enjoy.
These are just some of the foodie things we like fresh mint for, what about you? Can you share ideas on how you use mint and other herbs?
Braun, L., & Cohen, M. (2007). Herbs & Natural Supplements: An evidence-based guide (2nd ed.). Australia: Elsevier.
Heinerman, J. (1988). Heinerman’s Encycolpedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs. New York: Parker Publishing Company Inc.