Mint is a delicious tasting herb that is used for a variety of dishes. It is traditionally made into a mint sauce to be used as an accompaniment to roast lamb. Its leaves may also be used fresh and mixed into all sorts of vegetable, fish and meat dishes and also used to flavour drinks, such as a delicious mint tea or the Cuban Mojito cocktail. Mint can also be chopped and added to sweet dishes, such as fruit salad.
Mint is said to stimulate stomach bile and therefore aid digestion. So an after-dinner mint will help you digest your meal as well as freshen your breath after eating.
Which Varieties of Mint to Grow
There are many varieties of mint available to buy and grow. Each variety has a specific use in the kitchen:
Spearmint has traditional uses as a medicinal herb. It was commonly used to whiten teeth and soothe bites and stings. It is the most common variety of mint used in cooking and brings a sweet, refreshing taste to savoury dishes such as lamb and peas and also fruit salads and chocolate.
Peppermint provides the most widely used essential oil in medicines. It is more often used to enhance the flavour of sweet dishes and is the most popular variety of mint to be chopped and used to make a refreshing cup of tea.
Japanese mint is used in Asian cooking, such as Thai and Chinese dishes.
Mint is commonly used in Middle Eastern cooking such as kebabs, sprinkled over flatbreads, even in juices and teas.
Mint in Recipes
Back home mint is delicious tossed with fresh peas and broad beans and served alongside new potatoes and a knob of butter. The freshly harvested leaves can be snipped into fruit salads and rice dishes or adding to a marinade for chicken or fish. Why not make a sweet pesto with fresh mint leaves? Pesto is most commonly made with basil leaves, however any herb can be used and adds a different dimension to the pesto.
Simply blend 2 handfuls of mint with cashew or macadamia nuts with 2tbsp honey and 1tbsp vanilla extract. This pesto works well with sweet dishes, including chocolate cake and ice cream.
Mint can be added to a number of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Mint Julep is traditional bourbon cocktail; you can also add mint to punches, pimms, mojitos, iced tea and even milk shakes. The fresh leaves of mint also make an attractive garnish to many dishes.
Mint is a delicious herb that has many and varied uses in the kitchen. It is regularly used in British cooking, for example as an accompaniment to roast lamb or mixed with freshly podded peas and broad beans. Mint is a great herb for use in sweet dishes and can be added to fruit salads, ice cream or whipped into a sweet pesto to serve with chocolate. It has roots in Middle Eastern cooking and is often blended into juices, used as an accompaniment to kebabs and flatbreads as well as being chopped and infused in water to make a refreshing tea.