A Mint of Mint

Have you ever had something that you just couldn’t get rid of?  No matter how hard you try to yank it out of your life, it just grows back even bigger!  It’s pervasive, invasive and relentless: MINT!  I have been waging war against it in my yard for years.  Sure it seems harmless enough at first; lovely smell, beautiful green leaves, and a fresh addition to many recipes which is a good thing, because once you plant it, you are in a lifelong, devoted relationship.  This year, I decided that it is time that my mint plants and I make peace, perhaps I can use it for good and not look at it as evil.  The natural next step is to look to Pinterest for all things minty.  Not only did I find delicious recipes ranging from drinks to holiday gifts, but mint has potential health benefits as well.  Some say that it can help with digestion, freshen your breath and reduce nausea.  Looks like I have been missing out on my mint’s real potential! 

Here are a few of the recipes that I found in my search, I hope you enjoy!

Sparkling Mint Limeade (4 servings) https://tastesbetterfromscratch.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup fresh lime juice
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 1 cup sparkling water
  • 5 sprigs fresh mint leaves, divided

Instructions:

  1. Add sugar and 1 cup of water to a sauce pan.  Stir and bring to a boil.
  2. Boil for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and add 2 sprigs of fresh mint.  Allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Add the simple syrup to a pitcher.  Add fresh lime juice, cold water, sparkling water and remaining sprigs of mint.  Stir well. 
  4. Taste for sweetness and add more cold water to dilute if necessary. 
  5. Optional:  Make mint ice cubes by placing fresh leaves in ice cube trays, fill with water and then place in freezer.  Serve cubes with Mint Limeade. 

Fresh Pineapple Mint Salsa (serves 6) https://letsdishrecipes.com

This is great with grilled chicken, fish or tortilla chips

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, diced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • ½ cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • Zest and juice of one lime
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well
  2. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve

Peppermint extract https://therisingspoon.com

Great DIY holiday gift and way to preserve your extra mint!

Ingredients:

  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Vodka or another clear liquor of your choice

Recommended Equipment:

  • Clean Mason jar, swing top bottles, or a recycled glass jar
  • Wooden spoon or muddling tool

Directions:

Remove mint leaves from stems.  Wash and dry them thoroughly.  Choose the glass container you’ll be soaking the extract in and fill it all the way up with fresh mint leaves. 

Use the handle of a wooden spoon or a muddling tool to bruise the leaves.  This will smoosh the leaves down to half their size in the container and release the peppermint fragrance so it infuses better in the vodka.  You don’t need to pulverize the mint leaves, just press down and twist them several times.  From here add more mint leaves to the container, then push down again.  Keep doing this until at least ¾ of the jar is packed with leaves. 

Now pour in enough vodka so that all the mint leaves are completely covered in the vodka.  If there are any floaters at the top, remove them.  Seal the container tightly with a lid and place in cool, dark place. 

Soak for a minimum of one month, preferably two months or longer, then strain the leaves out and place the peppermint extract in a clean container with a tight fitting lid.

If the mint leaves look discolored after the steeping and the extract isn’t as strong as you’d like it, strain the leaves and add fresh ones using the same process as before.

It is time to see my bounty of mint as a blessing and get cooking!

With Love, Debbie

 

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