Mint

Mint has long been known for its subtly sweet flavor that adds freshness to drinks and dishes, especially in Middle Eastern cuisines. Mint is the perfect herb for hot summer days due its cooling effect and can be used in both savory and sweet dishes. 

History of Mint

In Greek mythology, the name mint comes from the nymph called Minthe. Minthe fell in love with Hades who was already married. When Hades’ wife learned of the marriage, she turned Minthe into a little plain plant that people would step on. Hades gave Minthe a delightful scent so that she would be appreciated for her sweetness.

Sweet-smelling mint was used in ancient Greece for a variety of things such as a room freshener, medicine for indigestion, and also in funeral rites.

Image Credit: photosforyou from Pixabay 

Appearance Of Mint leaves

There are different varieties of mint with different flavors and aromas. Typically, most mint plants are deep green in color and oval in shape with tiny tubular flowers. 

Flavor Of Mint

Mint has a slightly sweet taste and it produces a lingering cooling effect on the tongue after eating. Fresh mint leaves have the most flavorful taste, but dried mint leaves can also be used. 

Culinary Benefits of Mint

Fresh mint leaves are added to various recipes by cutting them into ribbons. To release more flavor, their entire stalk can be used or crushed into small pieces.

Dried mint leaves are added to simmering sauces and stews for a subtly sweet and slightly astringent flavor. Traditionally, they are used to complement lamb and poultry in Middle Eastern dishes. 

Mint is widely used in Greek dishes including sauces, salads, and herbal tea. These Greek-style Turkey Meatballs are a must-try for everyone! Or, if you are craving some Thai food, then out this delectable Thai salad which has plenty of fresh mint leaves. 

Mint can also be used in desserts and sweets alongside chocolate or fruit. Or why not add some finely minced fresh mint leaves to your next strawberry sundae?

In addition to the recipes above you can also use mint in a variety of simple dishes. Some of the most refreshing dishes that you can make using mint leaves include:

●     Mint water: Add mint leaves to a large pitcher with cold water. Let sit in the fridge until refreshingly cool and flavorful. 

●     Mint Syrup: Combine a large handful of mint leaves with equal parts sugar and water, and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Drizzle this sweet mint syrup on a platter of fruits for a sweet treat.

●     Cocktails: Mint tastes fantastic in many cocktails and adds a cooling effect to any drink. Mint Juleps and mint mojitos are two of our favorite mint-based cocktails.

Image Credit: Wolfram Strachwitz from Pixabay 

●     Mint Tea: Steep fresh mint leaves in hot water for 5 minutes and enjoy a flavorful herbal tea that can be sweetened with honey or sugar. 

●     Mint Pesto: Grind mint leaves into a fine paste just like basil pesto and enjoy a on a grilled sandwich or with freshly cooked pasta. 

Storage

Fresh mint leaves can be stored in the refrigerator in a zip lock bag. You can also place mint leaves along with their stems in a container of water and cover them loosely with a plastic bag. Fresh mint leaves stay fresh for 3-4 days. Dried mint leaves can be stored in a jar and kept in a cool dark place. Dried mint leaves last for a long time if stored in powdered form. 

Feature Image: Beverly Buckley from Pixabay 

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