Jul 06

Minty Mint, the Amazing Aromatic and yet Pesky Perennial

There are three things that I know about growing Mint. First, it is almost impossible to kill unless you completely forget to water the plant. Second, unless the plant is severely contained in a pot dug into ground, your Mint will go from being an herb to an invasive weed. Third, you can probably count on one hand how often you will want to use fresh Mint in a year and when you do, you will have wished that you had a pot of fresh Mint growing.

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) in a Pot

Spearmint (Mentha spicata) in a Pot (Started in 2009)

Knowing these three facts about Mint, the care and effort to maintain a pot of Mint on your patio or deck actually requires very little effort. As long as you water the pot on a regular basis, prune the growth periodically (to promote new growth), and provide the pot with some protection from a deep winter freeze there is very few places in the United States where you cannot grown Mint.

Mint is a part of the botanical family Lamiaceae, which also includes familiar herbs as basil, oregano, rosemary, savory, marjoram, thyme, lavender and sage. The most distinctive feature of the mint family is that the stems are square versus the more commonly round cross section of a stem.

Mint Growing in a Pot

Spearmint Leaves

There is a wide range of Mints that can be purchased from your local garden nursery. Most common found mint varieties are Spearmint (Mentha picata), Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) – a hybrid between Spearmint (Mentha picata) and Water Mint (Mentha aquatica), Apple Mint (Mentha suaveolens) and Pineapple Mint (a variegated cultivar of Apple mint). Each mint variety possesses unique characteristics; with that underlying distinctive minty flavor.

The uses of Mint in the cooking are only limited to your imagination. I have enjoyed Mint in both lettuce and cabbage salads, as a part of a dry rub for lamb and chicken, added to plain yogurt or labne to provide an additional flavor profile, steeped with hot tea, served as a jelly served with fresh lamb and as critical ingredient and garnish to a Mint Julep or a Mojito.

Fresh Picked Mint Leaves

Fresh Picked Mint Leaves on a Paper Towel

So give Mint a chance and with a minimal amount of care and attention, you will have an aromatic herb that will be there for you when you need it most.


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