Mint is one of the most popular flavours of the world. There are 20 different species of mint and hundreds of varieties, the most common being peppermint, spearmint, winter, apple, Moroccan and Vietnamese. Menthol gives mint its cooling sensation.
The flavour of mint is refreshing with a sweet, mellow flavour with hints of lemon.
Mint has a fresh, slightly sweet and tangy fragrance with a strong menthol aroma.
Mint is at home in Thai, Indian, Mexican and Moroccan cuisine. It pairs beautifully with lamb, peas and yoghurt.
The best way to grow mint is using runners, roots or cuttings. It is a creeping plant and the roots spread rapidly so this should considered when planting. A spot should be chosen that you’re happy for it to spread. Ideally it is best to plant it in its own pot.
Mint prefers full sun though can be grown in slight shade if the soil is fertile and moist. The leaves of a mint plant always grow in pairs and opposite each other.
There can be cross-pollination between different varieties of mint.
Mint was used as a tithe in biblical times. For quite some time it was used as a strewing herb as it lets off a clean and fresh smelling aroma when walked on.
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 hung above the entrance way to cool and freshen the air.
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 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.
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 in a moist environment. If you are in a subtropical environment than the mint can 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 back. If your mint is planted in pots you will have to be careful of the pot 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.