Do you like mint as much as we do? Read along and learn about this aromatic herbs and its uses. There is so much you can do with this humble herb, fresh or dried.
If you've been with us long enough, you know that herbs are a big part of Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines in both fresh and dry form. One of the most used herbs in these cuisines is mint. It's refreshing aroma and pleasant flavor pairs well with many ingredients.
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What Is Mint?
Being a native of Asia, Europe and North America, mint belongs to the Mentha genus family. Nowadays you can find mint all around the world and it's common to have a mint plant in summer. Mint spreads easily therefore it's usually planted in pots and not flowerbeds.
This aromatic herb is used widely in both fresh and dried form in many recipes including tea, salads and drinks. Its refreshing and strong flavor is one of a kind and can elevate flavors in many dishes.
Types Of Mint
There are many types of mint out there and each has special traits. Here are 3 most popular mint species:
- Spearmint: With pointy spies, spearmint has a mild and refreshing flavor with less colling effect. It's used in cooking including teas and salads as well as desserts.
- Peppermint: This species has dark leaves and a more intense flavor. With a high amount of menthol, peppermint has a cool, strong taste. You can use it fresh, dried or even in the form of essential oil. Peppermint flavor can be found in candies and gums, too.
- Chocolate mint: It's thought to be a cross between spearmint and peppermint. The leaves are dark green and the aroma is fresh and rich. You can use chocolate mint in drinks, desserts and ice cream.
What Can I Do With Mint?
What's interesting about mint is that it can be used in various ways. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Use it fresh in drinks such as mint ginger mocktail and cinnamon mint refresher.
- Add it to salads such as watermelon salad and kisir (Turkish bulgur salad).
- It goes well with yogurt and cucumber whether it's cacik, tzatziki, mast o khiar or creamy cucumber salad.
- Use it in stews such as khoresh karafs (Persian celery stew).
- If using dried mint, add it to dishes such as kashke bademjan (Persian eggplant dip), ash reshteh (Persian noodle soup) and yayla corbasi (Turkish yogurt soup).
How To Store Mint
If stored right, fresh mint can be refrigerated for up to a week. Here are my tips on how to store fresh mint:
- Remove any wilted leaves and trim the thicker stems.
- Place the mint in a sealable plastic bag and partially seal it, allowing the air to circulate.
- Refrigerate for up to a week.
As for dried mint, you can keep it in a jar in a cool and dry place for up to 6 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you use mint regularly, it's more economical and fresh to keep a mint plant at least for spring and summer when they're in season.
Mint is packed with nutrients and has been known to help with digestion. It also may manage stress and freshens breath.
You can use the thin stems since they have a lot of flavor. However, the thicker ones have a fibrous texture that might not be pleasant if found in a dish.