What’s Blooming: Mint: Nature’s Nurturing Herb

Whether you taste it as a revitalizing toothpaste and mouthwash upon waking or as refreshing gum or candy after a midday lunch, mint, botanically known as Menthe, is an alluring perennial herb that grows in temperate parts of the world. And, according to Greek legend, this tempting characteristic of allure is how the mint herb came about.

According to the web resource www.gardenguides.com, legend says the mint plant was originally a nymph named Minthe who was transformed into vegetation by Persephone, a jealous wife consumed by rage because of the affection her husband Pluto displayed to Minthe. Unable to reverse his wife’s spell, Pluto graced Minthe with a sweet aroma so that when she was walked upon in the garden her enchanting fragrance would perfume the air and charm the senses.

Despite the questionable origins of the menthe specie, modern day scientific facts conclude the aromatic herbal perennial of the family Lamiaceae consists of 25 species of mint plants says www.buzzle.com. However, there are currently over a hundred hybrids and cultivars of mint, with peppermint and spearmint being the most widely known and used. Both peppermint and spearmint produce a flavor that can be described as cool, clean and refreshing, though peppermint is a bit stronger while spearmint evokes a more subtle flavor due to its lack of menthol.

Mint is not only renowned for its distinct flavor profile, but also for the long-respected health benefits it offers outside of the oral care industry. Recognized for its soothing effect on skin irritated by hives, poison ivy or poison oak, mint also acts as a healing aid. The perennial herb is known to help relieve headaches and has decongesting qualities. Additionally, the mint herb is medicinally utilized as an aid against fighting asthma and allergies as well as being vegetation that supports healthy digestion and helps to prevent lung, colon and skin cancer, reports www.livestrong.com.

Moreover, when mint blends with hot water it becomes a soothing tea for upset stomachs and offers many calming forms of aromatherapy. For example, simply stepping on mint’s scented leaves naturally releases a gentle perfume into the air. Mint can also be utilized as a house air freshener when simmered in a pot of water with other vegetation such as rosemary and lemongrass. Additionally, as noted by www.senioryears.com, legend has it that the mint herb is good for keeping ants away from doors and for combating mice and fleas. Harvesting mint can also be advantageous for sensory stimulation as well as aesthetics. However, the plant can take over the garden if not frequently pruned.

Despite its many extraordinary medicinal qualities, the flavor of mint, which is derived from its leaves, is what the herb is most utilized for in the culinary industry. Frozen desserts benefit from the essence of the refreshing herb. It’s impossible to deny the classic combination of mint chocolate
chip ice cream or a peppermint milkshake. From drinks (mint julep or mojito) to meat seasoning (lamb) to flavoring for gum, candy, confections, fruit salads, eggs and more, mint is a proven versatile and nutritious herb. Rich in nutrients such as manganese, vitamin A and vitamin C, mint is also a good source of fiber, folate, iron, vitamin B2, potassium and copper.

The website www.nutrition-and-you.com suggests when shopping for mint leaves, it is best to choose fresh mint over dried leaves to get optimum flavor. The leaves should be a vibrant green color and void of dark spots or yellowing. To store fresh mint leaves, wrap them in a damp paper towel inside of a loosely closed plastic bag. When refrigerated, the mint leaves will keep fresh for several days. In contrast, dried leaves maintain best in a tightly sealed container. If placed in a dark, dry, cool place, the leaves can hold for up to a year.

The mint leaf is a powerhouse of flavor, versatility and nutrition. Its many varieties, flavors and uses make it a standout in multiple industries.

Mint Gelato

3000g105.8ozwhole milk
60g2.1ozPreGel Dextrose
300g10.6ozPreGel Totalbase® (Water & Milk Base - Cold Process)
140g4.9ozPreGel Mint - Green Traditional Paste
as desiredwhipped cream
as desiredgreen sprinkles

Method of Preparation

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large plastic bucket.
  2. Mix well for 2-3 minutes using an immersion blender.
  3. Place in batch freezer and process according to machine’s instructions.

Mint Milkshake

100g3.5ozwhole milk
400g14.1ozMint Gelato

Method of Preparation

  1. Combine all ingredients in a milkshake machine.
  2. Mix well in machine.
  3. Top with whipped cream and green sprinkles.