Thursday, June 11, 2009

Using and Growing Mints: Peppermint and Spearmint

Spearmint
Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow, in fact it can take over a garden, so careful planning is needed before planting. It is perfect for our “less lawn, more garden” project, and is a great healing herb.

Mint likes full sun, but will tolerate some shade. It is easily divided by roots and likes well drained soil. It flowers mid summer (here in zone 5); the honey bees and butterflies love it.

Planted near roses, peppermint and spearmint will deter aphids. Also, it will deter white cabbage moths. Planted around the house, it will help deter ants.

As a tea, mint is unsurpassed. It is helpful for headaches, motion sickness, will increase concentration; it relieves gas, aids digestion, is good for relieving stomach cramps, insomnia and it is even reputed to restore sexual vigor.

The leaves can be used fresh or dried; pick for drying before it flowers.

Mint is said to minimize dark circles under eyes, simply make a strong tea, strain, soak sterilized pieces of gauze (wring well) and apply over closed eyes.

Tie a bunch of sprigs under the faucet while filling the tub for a bath. The scent will fill the room.

To make a “sun tea” fill a glass jar with water, add mint sprigs and let sit in the sun at least 5 hours (we have left ours out a few days), strain the mint, add honey or sweetener of your choice, if desired, and refrigerate.

Mint in Cooking:

Fresh leaves can be chopped and added to fruit salads.

Mint is used for making jellies, flavoring meats, fish and in baking.

To make an herbal vinegar, place a few sprigs in a small bottle of white wine or rice vinegar. Let sit a few weeks for the flavors to combine. Strain herbs, if desired. This makes a nice salad dressing.

Add chopped mint to mashed potatoes, cream cheese dip or fruit punches. It also goes well in chocolate cakes and cookies. Try adding some to vanilla ice cream. Ok, now I’m hungry!

2 comments:

  1. Oh no, one more thing to add to the list of things I should have planted this year. I need a few acres to plant everything that I want. ;-)

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  2. I know what you mean. Mint is great to have, and spreads like crazy!

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