By Victoria Fuller
It is no secret that our raised garden beds and planter boxes make a perfect habitat for growing flowers, plants, and vegetables, however the wonderful world of herbs is sometimes overlooked so for today’s blog post we wanted to hone in on one of the easiest herbs to grow at home: mint!
Mint (or mentha) is part of the family Lamiaceae and around 24 species of the plant exist, and with this many varieties it is no surprise that there are essentially countless recipes and ideas for ways to incorporate mint into your daily life and we are going to share some of those with you today along with some tips and tricks on how to cultivate your own fragrant herbs!
Mint is a very easy plant to grow yourself at home, the trick is to ensure that your plants get some sun but are planted in partial shade. Mint thrives especially well in hot weather climates (like Arizona). Keeping your plants watered is also a key to success, ensure that your plants do not dry out at all and keep them trimmed and cut back to encourage leaf production. If you plant your mint from seeds it will take around 2 months for your plants to reach 6-8 inches tall and thus be ready to be harvested!
Here are some popular uses for your home-grown mint:
Adding mint leaves to your regular tea is a delicious way to reap the anti-inflammatory, soothing and calming benefits of the plant while also remaining caffeine-free and helping to boost your immune system.
Shampoo & Skincare
The tingling sensation that you feel when applying or consuming mint is a sensation caused by your skin’s thermoreceptors integrating the menthol, this leads to a pleasant cooling feeling. Mint is also calming and soothing but can also stimulate blood flow so it can help stimulate the scalp and promote new hair growth.
Baking & Cooking
Mint makes an excellent ingredient when it comes to both sweet and savoury dishes! Adding mint to your recipes not only adds that refreshing and cooling taste that we all know and love, but it is also known to improve digestive health, reduce allergy symptoms, and helps to soothe common cold symptoms as well! Some popular recipes that can include mint are: bastes and sauces for mint, cookies, salsas, and many more!
No bar is complete without some delicious fresh mint leaves to garnish and add to your drinks! The famous Mojito is one of the most popular mint-based cocktails, to make your own refreshing cocktail at home you would need some of your freshly washed and cut mint leaves, 1 ½ OZ of white rum, 1 OZ fresh lime juice, 2 teaspoons of sugar, and soda water to taste!
When preparing your mint to incorporate into your daily life it is important to remember a few things:
- Ensure that you use a sharp knife to cut your mint leaves as using a dull knife can cause the mint leaves to bruise and resultingly lose some of their flavour and potency.
- Store your cut mint leaves in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to 1 week for maximum freshness after harvesting and preparing.
- When adding mint to recipes, opt to add them towards the end of the cooking process; this will help them to maintain their texture and delicate flavour. It is also best to add mint leaves raw when adding them to recipes.
- Make sure you wash your mint thoroughly before consuming it to ensure there aren’t any unpleasant surprises making their way into your dishes.