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Make Magic with Mint

By Alana Sugar, April 9, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Alana Sugar

Mint is in everything from food to body care to household cleansers.

It grows like crazy in the sunshine, making it perfect for cooling beverages, summer desserts and fruit or vegetable salads. It adds depth to marinades and dressings and is easily slivered and sprinkled over everything from soup to dessert.

For generations the world over, people have celebrated mint in its many forms, enjoying its refreshing taste and pleasing and powerful aroma. Whether fresh or dried, mint is an herb you can keep on hand year round. Dried mint is more concentrated, so use less.

Here’s a general rule: Dried herbs work well with slow simmered foods such as soups, sauces and stews, since their flavors are released slowly through longer cooking, and fresh herbs work best in recipes that are cooked for a shorter period of time or not cooked at all.

I like to substitute two tablespoons of fresh mint for one teaspoon of dried mint in recipes, but this can vary according to taste. Let mint help you make magic with your menus.

Here are some favorite ideas:

  • Add fresh mint to smoothies – especially wonderful with berries and stone fruit.
  • Add fresh mint to any grain salad – tabouli, couscous, quinoa or wild rice. Enjoy this refreshing Barley Salad with Mint and this delicious Minted Orzo and Zucchini Salad. 
  • Add fresh mint slivers to salad dressings and dips, or purée the ingredients all together in the blender.
  • Add mint to homemade or prepared pesto sauce.
  • Add mint to chilled fruit soup – especially wonderful in this Chilled Minted Melon Soup.
  • Add mint to Gazpacho or Cucumber Mint Soup.
  • Sprinkle mint over grilled lamb or seafood. For a great way to use mint with lamb, try our Lamb Patties with Mint and Rosemary.
  • Stir fresh mint into yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream or ricotta cheese.
  • Add fresh mint to pasta salad and grain dishes. Here’s an idea for Minted Quinoa with Pine Nuts.
  • Sprinkle some fresh mint over vegetable or fruit salads, grilled or raw. Here’s a delicious idea for Tomato and Watermelon Salad with Mint and Feta.
  • And if you like slaw, you’ll love our Beet and Mint Slaw.
  • Make simple mint tea by finely mincing fresh mint leaves and pouring steaming hot water over, cover and steep for 5-10 minutes. Add sweetener or lemon if desired. For an extra kick, mix in a little fresh grated ginger root, or try this great recipe for Moroccan Mint Tea.
  • Add brewed mint tea to fruit juice such as apple or pomegranate.
  • Garnish vegetable soup with mint.
  • Stir a little mint into cooked peas and carrots.
  • Mint is great mixed with black, white, green or assorted herbal teas.
  • Try a couple of mint leaves along with lettuce or baby spinach leaves on your sandwich.
  • Add some minced mint leaves to ice cream or frozen yogurt, or add just a drop of natural mint extract.
  • Stay cool with Minted Lime Freeze.

On a trip to France, I explored a luscious herb garden surrounding one of the ancient chateaus I visited. The fragrance was indescribable.

I’ll never forget ordering a cup of mint tea early one morning, expecting a tea bag, of course.

Imagine my delight when a gorgeous tea cup filled with fresh mint from the garden arrived along with a carafe of piping hot water!

Got a special way you make magic with mint? I’d love to know.

Category: Food & Recipes, Produce

 

2 Comments

Comments

vered says ...
Yes! These chocolate-dipped mint leaves taste super fresh: http://healthyrecipesblogs.com/2012/04/09/chocolate-covered-mint-leaves/
04/09/2012 1:25:01 PM CDT
Rudner ulwu says ...
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03/10/2013 7:02:02 PM CDT