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Many Ways to Enjoy Mint

Moroccan Mint Tea

Around the world, mint has long been celebrated in all its myriad forms including recipes. Its refreshing taste and cooling aroma lend it to a variety of sweet and savory dishes and hot and cold beverages.

There are dozens of species of mint; the most popular of which are peppermint and spearmint. With bright green leaves and a slightly peppery flavor, peppermint is more pungent while spearmint, with its grey-green or green leaves, is milder in flavor and fragrance.

All mint types can be used interchangeably, but as a general rule, spearmint varieties are used for recipes like Moroccan Mint Tea and this beautiful Beet and Mint Slaw, while the peppermint varieties are often used for healing purposes such as massage oil, aroma therapy, and of course, peppermint tea. Peppermint extract is used to bring a strong cooling flavor and aroma to mint-flavored ice cream, candies and treats like Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Peppermint Frosting and Chocolate Mint Pots de Crème.

Bulgur with Peas and Mint

When cooking with mint, remember that the dried version is more concentrated so you need to use less. In general, the flavor of dried herbs is released slowly through longer-cooking, slowly simmered dishes like soups, stews, sauces and bisques. So you may find you use more dried mint in the fall and winter. Fresh herbs are great in recipes that cook a bit faster, or for using raw. I will often slow simmer soup or stew, then throw in fresh herbs a minute or two before serving. A good rule of thumb is to use 2 tablespoons of fresh mint for every teaspoon of dried mint.

Whether dried or fresh, mint is an herb you can keep on hand year-round. Here are some of my favorite ideas and recipes: 

Tip: Store a bunch of mint, stems down, in a glass of water for up to one week. Cover its leaves with a plastic bag, and change the water every couple of days.

What’s your favorite mint recipe? Do you prefer peppermint or spearmint? I’d love to know.