How to Use Mint Plants

Overview

While many gardeners avoid growing mint due to its invasive tendencies, you might find mint worth the effort if you grow it carefully in your herb garden. By growing mint in containers either above the ground or below the soil, you can contain mint and keep it from spreading out of control. Because mint grows so vibrantly, you can begin to use mint plants growing in your garden from the beginning of the growing season throughout the summer.

Step 1

Harvest mint by removing stems approximately 1 inch above the soil level. For best flavor, harvest mint before the mint plant blooms. If you want to extend the growing season of your mint plant, remove flowers as they appear. This will encourage the mint plant to keep producing new foliage.

Step 2

Make a fresh mint tea with fresh mint leaves. Strip the leaves from the stems and lightly chop them with the knife. Boil water and pour the hot water into a teapot. Add 2 tsp. of chopped mint leaves for every 8 oz. of water and allow the mint tea to steep for five minutes. Pour the tea through a strainer into teacups to serve.

Step 3

Chop mint leaves to add to fruit salads, vegetable salads, yogurt and assorted desserts. You can add fresh, chopped mint leaves to any foods that would benefit from the light and zesty flavor of mint. Add the mint to recipes by the 1/2 tsp. and taste before adding more to make sure you do not add too much.

Step 4

Bundle together approximately five mint stems for drying. Tie the stems together at the bottoms of the stems and hang them in a warm and dry location out of direct sunlight. Allow the mint stems to dry for one to two weeks until they are brittle when you touch them. Remove the stems from their hanging location and strip the leaves from the stems. Store the dried leaves in an airtight container for as long as one year.

Step 5

Use dried mint in both sweet and savory foods, adding 1/4 tsp. to 1/2 tsp. at a time and then tasting before adding more. You can also use dried mint to make tea by adding 1 tsp. to boiling water and allowing it to steep for five minutes. Pour the tea through a strainer into a teacup to serve.

Things You'll Need

  • Paring knife
  • Cutting board
  • Scissors
  • String

References

  • University of Nebraska Extension: Healthy Cooking with Fresh Herbs
  • University of Michigan Health System: Peppermint
Keywords: growing mint, use mint plants, harvest mint

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.