“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
I Peter 4:10
Today was the September Herb Seminar at Full Moon Natives & Herbs - All About Mint - uses for culinary, tea, aroma, health and the language of herbs. Marvette Bagwell and I teamed up to share everything!
Until 1696, all mints were considered to be one plant (Mentha spp) distinguished by their characteristic square stems, however there are actually several varieties. Spearmint (M. spicata) is the oldest, most popular, and used to complement savory dishes like lamb, peas and other vegetables as well as fruits and chocolate.
Here are a few others:
• Peppermint (M. ×piperita) – Great for candies and tea. Many varieties available - ‘Chocolate’, with its dark stems and slight but distinct chocolate aroma, is my favorite.
• Apple mint (M. ×villosa) - Vigorous, upright grower, attractive light green leaves that are softly fuzzy. Excellent flavor.
• Grapefruit mint (M. ×piperita ‘Grapefruit’) - A bushy herb with a strong grapefruit flavor which is not as aggressive as most.
• Lemon mint (M. ×piperita ‘Hillary’s Sweet Lemon’) - Mint hybrid named for Hillary Clinton with a sweet spearmint scent with a hint of citrus..
• Orange mint (M. ×piperita ‘Orange’ or ‘Citrata’) - A refreshing peppermint hybrid that is attractive and fast-growing, often with a purplish tinge to the new growth.
• Pineapple mint (M. suaveolens ‘Variegata’) – a handsome plant with its variegated leaves, splashed with cream blotches, and sweet scent.
There are also some varieties that are more ornamental:
• Corsican mint (M. requienii) - Low-growing with tiny leaves, forming mats, and is sometimes grown between paving stones in a walkway, but can be difficult to grow in high humidity.
• Pennyroyal (M. pulegium) - Strong, minty fragrance, but toxic in large quantities. Enjoy its scent, makes a great ground cover & is a flea repellent.
Most mints can be grown in sun or part shade, but they are invasive and easier to control when planted in containers. Grow each variety separated from each other or they will lose their distinct flavor and harvest only the top 3-5 leaves for best culinary flavor!
1/2c dried mint
1/4c orange peel
1Tbs cinnamon chips
1tsp whole cloves
1/4 vanilla bean, sliced
Simmer gently in water to fill your home with fragrance!
GARDENER’S RELAXING FOOTBATH
2Tbs green tea
1Tbs lavender flowers
Place all the ingredients in a muslin bag. Boil 3 or 4 cups of water and drop in the herbal bag. Remove the pan from the heat and steep for about 15 minutes. Add the herb infused water with warm water into a tub you can soak your feet in. Soak your feet for 15 minutes. Pat dry and add a rich moisturizer.
1/4c dried orange mint
1/4c dried spearmint
1/4c dried peppermint
2Tbs dried thyme
2Tbs dried rosemary
Combine gently and place 2Tbs in each sachet. Use in drawers, cars, anywhere you need a pick-me-up scent!
1/2c green Rooibos
1/4c lemon balm
1Tbs lemon peel
Combine and store in an airtight container. To brew: use 1tsp per cup or 1 heaping tablespoon per 4-6c pot. Steep in boiling water 5-10 minutes, strain and enjoy hot or iced.
COOKING WITH MINT
Marvette with her helper, Thelma, demonstrated several recipes using Mint: Indian Grilled Chicken w/Mint, Cucumber Salad w/Mint, Mojito Mint Fruit Dip and Zucchini Mint Soup. Plus added Orange Mint Iced Tea & Apple Mint Bundt Cake to the tasting menu. The recipes can be found on their website under Cooking with Herbs: Mint along with Grilled Salmon with Mint Butter and Mint Pesto Brownies topped with Mint Cream for that special occasion.
I also brought a treat to share:
MINT MERINGUES: Combine 2 egg whites, 1/4tsp cream of tartar and a dash of salt and beat until soft peaks form. Add 2/3c sugar gradually and beat until stiff. Add 1Tbs dried spearmint, green food coloring and a 6oz package of chocolate chips. Heat oven to 325 degrees. Drop cookies onto greased sheet, place in oven and turn off. Leave overnight.