With barbeque and picnic season just around the corner, we’re excited to start using fresh mint from our gardens. Mint is really the perfect place to begin as you build your herb garden. It’s easy to grow and is so versatile, as its flavor compliments both sweet and savoury dishes and drinks. Spearmint is the most common type of mint, though there are more than 20 others, each with its own flavor profile. Peppermint and English Mint have a slightly peppery flavor, while Lemon, Orange, Pineapple and and Mojito Mint are sweeter and are best suited for beverages. There’s no doubt in our minds, mint’s versatility is unrivaled! Here are a few of our favorite uses for mint:
- Add a simple sprig to garnish a dessert or cocktail.
- Frozen into ice cubes.
- Mint-infused water flavored with ginger, cucumber, lemon, lavender, strawberries or watermelon.
- Chopped up into a bowl of fresh garden peas and some butter (delicious!)
- As a compliment to lamb or pork dishes.
- Brewed as a hot tea to soothe indigestion or a sore throat.
- A few leaves brightens up the flavor profile of any salad, especially quinoa or couscous.
What’s not to love about mint?
HOW TO GROW MINT:
- Mint’s roots are called ‘runners’ and are incredibly invasive: they sprout new leaves and new plants as they go. Mint will overtake a flower bed or garden in no time if you’re not careful.
- When choosing a location for your mint, find one where the plant will receive morning sun and partial afternoon shade.
- Plant in a container with drainage holes.
- As with all herbs, mint prefers well-draining soil and even moisture.
- When planting the herb in a flower bed, first submerge a pot, leaving the rim above ground level when potted, so the mint’s fast-growing root system will be contained. Otherwise, the herb will take over your garden and lawn in an annoying weed-like fashion.
- Harvest mint sprigs before the plant flowers.
- To extend the harvesting season, pinch off the flowering buds as they appear.
- Most mint plants are Zone 3 or 4 and can overwinter outdoors in our local climate. However, we do not receive enough daylight hours in the winter to sustain the plants indoors. Harvest and store the leaves in the summer to keep that fresh mint flavor for winter use.