Photo by Melody
Congratulations to all our photo contest participants! Check out the winning photos here. We will have the 2015 calendars available to order from Zazzle soon.

What do I do With All That . . . Mint

By Amber Royer (dandylyon85June 3, 2011
bookmark

I just had a gardener give me some very healthy mint plants today. She said she used her mint for making tea, but didn’t know quite what else to do with it. “There’s just so much of it,” she lamented. Sound familiar? Mint is one of those aggressive herbs that tend to take over, if not checked. One way to keep it in its place is to cook it in as many ways as are possible.

Gardening picture

One of my favorite ways to use mint is in making chocolate ganache for frosting a cake (or a slightly thicker version for truffle centers, which can then be rolled in nuts or cocoa powder).  You need equal amounts of heavy whipping cream and chocolate (add a couple extra ounces of chocolate if you are making truffles) - and a whopping bunch of coarsely chopped mint.  Melt the chocolate slowly in the top of a double boiler.  Meanwhile, heat the cream in a saucepan together with the mint.  When the cream is warm to the touch, turn it off and let the mint steep into the cream, for a minimum of ten minutes.  Taste the cream.  If the mint flavor isn't strong enough, put a lid on it and keep steeping.  When it is done, strain the cream through a sieve into the chocolate mixture, and whisk to combine.  Discard the mint leaves.  This works with any variety of mint, but you get really nice effects from orange mint (Mentha x piperita f. citrata) and lemon mint (Mentha dulcia citreus).

 

 Image Image

 

A traditional way to use mint is in jelly.  Take your favorite apple jelly recipe, and add 1 ½ cup of peppermint (Mentha x piperita) or spearmint (Mentha spicata) leaves when you start cooking down the apples.  Mint doesn't have the natural pectin required to make jelly on its own, and the apples have a mild enough flavor to blend in behind the mint.  Adding the leaves at the beginning of the process will allow plenty of time for the mint flavor to suffuse through the juice coming out of the apples, and when you strain out the solids you don't have any leafy bits to disrupt the texture of the jelly.

 

If you're having Indian food on the menu, don't forget to turn some of your mint into chutney.  It tastes very "green" but goes exceptionally well with kebabs and chicken tikkas.  Use either a mortar and pestle or a food processor to grind the following ingredients into a paste:

1 small bunch cilantro (stems removed)

1 whopping bunch mint (stems removed)

1 hot green pepper (stem and seeds removed)

Couple cloves garlic

Salt (to taste)

Half an onion    

Juice of 1 lime

 

Mint is cooling (which may be why the above recipe is so nice with super-spicy Indian cuisine), and the Greek culinary tradition capitalizes on this by adding another cooling vegetable - cucumber - to make tatziki sauce.  This can go over gyros, or can be used to dress a salad, where it will add a creamy taste without adding a load of fat.  Start with a 16 oz. carton of Greek-style yogurt, and add a peeled, seeded, diced cucumber.  Mince a handful of mint leaves together with a couple of cloves of garlic, add that to the yogurt mix, season to taste with salt, really good olive oil (I like using some in which I've infused lemon) and your favorite vinegar.  You'll want to refrigerate this for at least a couple of hours to let the flavors mingle before you use it.  

 

Mint also goes really well with both strawberries and pineapple, so try making a minted fruit salad.  Add your other favorite fruit (whatever's in season), a handful of finely diced mint leaves and a syrup made by boiling down 1/2 cup lime juice and 1 cup sugar until it is syrupy (which will seal your fruit and prevent it from turning brown - but make sure you let the syrup cool before adding it to the fruit).

 

Image

 

Don't forget mojitos!  One of the most refreshing ways to enjoy mint is to drink it. Steep the mint as for tea, strain it, add a bit of sugar and an optional shot of rum, and serve over a lot of ice.

 

These are just a few ideas to get you started.  Once you see how the herb works in the kitchen, you'll be making mint pesto, minted lamb dishes, tabouli, mint ice cream, and minty herb seasoning mixtures.  Take the time to dry some for later, and to sprinkle a few dried leaves at the back of your cabinets to keep bugs away!


  About Amber Royer  
Amber RoyerAs a librarian turned freelancer, Amber likes to research the history and botany behind the modern garden. Her true plantly love is the herb garden. Follow her on Google.

  Helpful links  
Share on Facebook Share on Stumbleupon

[ Mail this article | Print this article ]

» Read articles about: Mints, Cooking, Recipes, Jams And Jellies, Salads

» Read more articles written by Amber Royer

« Check out our past articles!



Discussion about this article:
SubjectTopic StarterRepliesViewsLast Post
How do you make mint tea? (blush) Liquidambar2 6 62 Jun 11, 2011 6:51 PM
MINT-another useanti-rodent vanessasgram 0 10 Jun 8, 2011 8:21 AM
ANOTHER use for your mint. ducks4you 1 43 Jun 7, 2011 8:11 PM
Non-food mint use woodland_karen 3 59 Jun 7, 2011 8:06 PM
Mint pmcfern 0 9 Jun 7, 2011 12:08 PM
Mint dressing OGRODNIK 0 13 Jun 7, 2011 5:56 AM
mint uses prickersnall 3 57 Jun 6, 2011 6:31 PM
Container on Its Own awatts 0 18 Jun 6, 2011 4:06 PM
Mint Pears thedasgirl 0 11 Jun 6, 2011 3:48 PM
The secret's in the sauce Jeanne101 0 35 Jun 6, 2011 7:27 AM
mint cricketgail 0 31 Jun 6, 2011 6:51 AM
You cannot post until you login.


We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2014 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.
 

Hope for America