Fresh mint is very prolific, which means it grows in abundance. No wonder the question I get asked most often is ‘what can I use mint for?”.
I happen to love the refreshing taste, smell and feel of mint so I have no problem coming up with ways to use it.
If you would like to learn more about How To Grow, Cook & Use Fresh Mint, I have the perfect tips for you!
How To Grow Fresh Mint
Year ago I was the president of a local herb society and garden club. The members would gasp when I claimed I planted my mint in the ground!
You could hear the chatter among the members of the horror as they imagined my entire property covered in mint!
Truth is, I love fresh mint. Mint is aesthetically pleasing and my bees love it. I would rather have a yard full of lush, green herbs, that feed my pollinators over a yard of grass that I have to mow every two weeks.
Nonetheless, heed my caution. Mint does spread. A lot. You will find it in places you never would imagine it could reach. Unless you’re like me and actually want the mint to grow everywhere, and I mean everywhere, then it’s best to plant in pots.
The most common mints are Peppermint and Spearmint.
I have also grown and enjoyed: Chocolate Mint, Pineapple Mint, Apple Mint, and many more.
If you’re confused by the mint family, don’t worry, you are not alone.
With over 6,000 species of mint, and over 200 genera, it’s easy to get confused.
Tips To Growing Mint
- Plant it once and enjoy it year after year
- Mint prefers fertile soil with a pH from 6.0 to 7.0
- It is a Fast-growing, spreading plant.
- Ideal for planting in pots
- Makes a good ground cover
When planting mint, select a damp area in your garden in either full sun or part shade.
Always plant mint in a pot unless you want it to be a ground cover.
I purposely plant mint in the ground so it will be a ground cover.
Because of the vast amount of shade we have, we can’t grow grass, but we can grow mint.
I also harvest it regularly so I never feel overwhelmed by it- I love my mint!
What Can You Do With Fresh Mint Leaves?
Fortunately, we have access to fresh mint for most of the year. We live in hardiness zone 7b, so we only lose our mint about three months per year.
Consequently, we use fresh mint often in our daily lives.
Ways To Use Mint
- Vitamin Water (recipe below)
- In our chicken coops to keep rodents at bay.
- Rub on our skin to deter biting insects.
- Add to flower arrangements as fresh greenery.
- Hang a bunch of fresh mint from my review mirror in my car as a natural air freshener.
- Aromatherapy. I break a sprig of mint off, crush some of the leaves and deeply inhale.
- Place in linen bags around the house to deter mice and spiders.
- Apply to bug bites and stings.
How Do You Eat Fresh Mint Leaves?
Not only can you eat fresh mint leaves, but you should eat fresh mint leaves.
For years chefs have placed fresh mint on plates as a garnish. This is done for two reasons. One, mint helps freshen your breath. And two, mint aids in digestion.
So next time you see fresh mint on your plate, use it. Don’t toss it to the side. Take a little bite and start chewing.
However, hands-down, my favorite way to enjoy chewing on fresh mint leaves is when I make Mint Candy. Only three ingredients and the whole family enjoys it!
Cooking With Fresh Mint
Mint leaves are used either fresh or dried for teas and recipes. If mint is in season and you can get some fresh mint, use that. If it’s not in season, dried mint is just fine to use.
Do You Wash Mint Leaves Before Using?
Always wash your fresh mint in cold water before using. Mint can harbor little insects on the back sides of its leaves and washing your mint can help remove them. Unless you want the extra protein?
- Smoothie: Pineapple Mint Smoothie Recipe
- Desserts: Lemon Mint Sherbet
- Drinks (Mint Julep)
- Vitamin Water (recipe below)
- Fruit Dishes: Summer Fruit Salad with Mint Dressing
- Lamb: Roast Rack of Lamb with Mint Sauce
- Middle Eastern Dishes: Tabbouleh
- Fresh Salads
- Mint Candy
- Asian Rolls: Vietnamese Fresh Spring Rolls
Mint Vitamin Water Recipe
This is a refreshing way to enjoy water and have the extra benefits of minerals and vitamins.
Mint Vitamin Water Ingredients
- 1 Cup of Fruit -cleaned and chopped in big chunks, do not chop berries (see below for fruit suggestions)
- ¼ Cup Fresh Herb Leaves. Any variety of mint: peppermint, spearmint, pineapple mint, chocolate mint, or apple mint.
- Pitcher of Filtered Water
Vitamin Water Instructions
- Add fruit to water.
- Rub herbs between hands to bruise the herb and release the oils, add to water.
- Let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours or in the fridge for 3-4 hours. The longer you infuse the water, the stronger the flavor.
- Discard fruit and herbs after 48 hours to prevent from spoiling. Store vitamin water in fridge up to three days.
Pair Up Your Herbs With
- Grapefruit, limes or lemons
- Blackberries, blueberries, raspberries or Strawberries
Using Fresh Mint for Medicine & Health
Mint oil is often used in toothpaste, gum, candy, beauty products, and medicines.
We often boast about berries and other “Super Foods” when talking about antioxidants but overlook herbs.
Learning how to use fresh herbs and spices like mint when cooking can also help to cut down on sodium intake.
- Mint possesses astringent, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties
- It aids in: Indigestion , IBS, Colds, Allergies and Oral Care
- It is rich in essential oils, vitamins and dietary fiber, which helps to control blood cholesterol and blood pressure
- Peppermint-herb is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin C and vitamin A
Use More Mint In Your Diet
To incorporate more mint into your diet, you can:
- Drink mint tea, either hot or cold.
- Chew on mint leaves (also helps freshen breath).
- Add fresh mint to salads and fruits.
- Drink mint infused vitamin water (recipe above).
Other Amazing Ways You Can Use Fresh Mint
In addition to all the wonderful ways you can use fresh mint mentioned above, I have some other articles that include mint.
Once you realize all the benefits of using mint, you’ll be like me and want to plant it in the ground everywhere!