The cool, refreshing flavor of mint makes it an ideal herb for beating the summer heat—whether you add it to iced tea or a chocolaty dessert. So you might almost be glad if this prolific plant is overtaking your garden.
Mint is really a large family of more than 30 varieties. The most common are peppermint and spearmint. In general, spearmint is used for beverages, peppermint flavors desserts and beverages, and garden mint is the choice for general cooking.
The uses are endless. Add chopped mint leaves to egg dishes or to peas. Spearmint enhances such veggies as carrots and potatoes as well as black beans, meat and fish. Try pineapple mint in a mixed green salad…or chocolate mint in desserts.
Fresh is best, right from the garden or grocery store. Keep mint in the refrigerator, wrapped in paper towels and enclosed in a plastic bag. Dried mint is also available and should be stored away from heat, light and moisture.
Pluck some mint leaves from your garden and treat yourself to one of these refreshing dishes.
"My husband likes to smoke a whole turkey, and I made this colorful Minty Mango Salsa with fresh mint to accompany it," writes Diane Thompson of Nutrioso, Arizona. "It's always a hit with our guests, even served as an appetizer."
This festive-looking Mint Jelly from Naomi Giddis of Two Buttes, Colorado, can be served with lamb or used as a dessert topping. With its bright-green color, the jelly makes a great gift, too.
Chava Karlovich of Monroe, Connecticut shares Lemon Mint Cooler, a fizzy warm-weather beverage that blends sherbet and ginger ale with tangy ice cubes made with lemon juice and chopped mint. It's sure to hit the spot when served with a meal or as an afternoon refresher.