Mint

Mint (Mentha)

Mint is a flavor that's known worldwide, with over 20 different species and hundreds of varieties of the beloved plant. The most commonly recognized kinds of mint are peppermint, spearmint, winter apple, Moroccan and Vietnamese. If you've ever wondered why mint tastes slightly cold, it's the menthol that gives mint the cooling sensation. 

Flavor

Mint is very refreshing, sweet and mellow in flavor with hints of lemon. 

Aroma

Mint has a fresh, slightly sweet and tangy fragrance with a strong menthol aroma.

Pairing

Mint works well with lamb or duck but not particularly with any other meats. It also pairs well with a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Growing

The best way to grow mint is by using runners, roots or cuttings. Since mint's roots grow very rapidly when planting, it's important to plant in a single pot in an open area. Additionally, the leaves of a mint plant always grow in pairs and opposite each other.

 

Mint prefers full sunlight during planting, though it can be grown in slight shade if the soil is fertile and moist. Finally, there can be cross-pollination between different varieties of mint.

 

History

Mint was used as a tithe in biblical times. Back in medieval times, it was used as a “strewing” herb, laid out, or strewn across the floor because, when walked on, it emits a fresh smelling aroma.

 

In classical times before a banquet was served, mint was rubbed over tables to stir up a greedy desire for meat.

 

A branch of mint was also hung above the entrance way to cool and freshen the air.

 

Medicinal

The menthol contained in mint can soothe sore throats, just like in many throat lozenges.

 

Due to its cooling sensation caused by high levels of menthol, mint is also used to treat gastric and digestive orders and nervous complaints such as tension and insomnia. 

 

It has also been shown that peppermint is very effective in relieving headaches.

 

Facts about Mint

While mint makes a refreshing drink, it also aids in the digestion of rich and fatty foods.

 

The menthol in mint produces a mild numbing effect to the mouth.

 

Common Questions

Help, my mint is dying!

Mint can start to die for a variety of reasons. If the plant is young, the roots could have not formed before being exposed to too much sun. After the plant is well established, it is best to keep the plant in full sun and in a moist environment. If you are in a subtropical environment, the mint can quickly get too hot so, partial shade is recommended as long as the soil is still moist.

Why does mint taste cold?

The menthol that is contained in mint causes a reaction making the mint feel cold. The menthol triggers the nerves, changing the electric pulse sending a message to the brain that you’re eating something cold.

Will mint survive the winter?

It will depend on the temperature of your area, though generally mint roots survive the winter quite well. Often the top leaves will die off, though when the temperature warms up they will grow right back. If your mint is planted in pots, you will have to be careful of the temperature to ensure it doesn’t freeze.

Should mint be refrigerated?

To increase the time that your mint will stay fresh, you can place it in an air-tight container and store it in the refrigerator.