Thursday, November 14, 2013


(Mentha piperita)
imagePeppermint  is the best tea mint and has been used for colds, flu and mild digestive disorders; however those with heartburn should not use it because it relaxes the esophageal sphincter which worsens the problem.  Peppermint has also been used to flavor everything from chewing gum to medicine. It enhances cooked foods, especially hearty soups, sauces, jellies and lamb and goes extremely well with chocolate. Any mint can be substituted by peppermint, but not always vice versa.
Until 1696, all mints were considered to be one plant distinguished by their characteristic square stems. Peppermint is not a pure variety of mint, but a natural hybrid of the spearmint species which grows wild in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. It is the most important member of the mint family as a source of oil used as flavoring and as a therapeutic agent.
There are two types of peppermint, black and white. The black peppermint has pungent leaves, purplish leaf and stem, and abundant oil production plus it is the hardiest. White peppermint has a more serrated leaf, green stems, and a delicate odor and obtains a higher price for its oil which is preferred by herbalists.
Mint is a rampant spreader, so be careful where you plant it! Peppermint grows 3 feet tall in sun or part shade in moist but well drained soil and is ideal for containers both inside and out. It produces little reddish-violet flowers at the axil of the upper leaves forming a spike. Harvest it ruthlessly - it won’t affect its growth, but be careful as the leaves bruise easily. To dry, harvest the entire stem and hang in a dry, airy, dark location for at least a week, then strip the leaves from the stem.
Steep a handful of fresh peppermint
in boiling water for ten minutes
for a comforting tea
to settle your stomach after a big meal
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.”
Psalm 34:8

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