Mint, an aromatic perennial, is a must for any home. This guide on how to grow and use mint shows its many uses around the home. The leaves have many uses for cooking, in drinks or even for traditional herbal medicine.
Planting Mint in Your Garden
Mint prefers humus rich soil and a semi shaded position, but will tolerate full sun. All varieties of mint can be invasive with runners spreading out just under the ground. For this reason, it is best to plant mint in pots but if you do still wish to plant your mint in the ground, this method will help to keep the plant under control.
Time needed: 20 minutes.
Planting Mint in the Ground to Stop it Spreading
- Cut Out the Base of a Pot
First cut out the bottom of a large, deep plastic pot.
- Plant the Pot in a Hole
Next put this pot into a hole in the ground making sure the top of the pot is at least an inch above ground level.
- Fill with Soil then Plant the Mint
Fill pot with humus rich soil then plant the mint. You will need to keep an eye on the runners in case they decide to climb over the edge of the pot and find their way into the surrounding soil.
If your mint is looking a bit leggy, it will respond well to pruning which makes the plant bushier and more attractive. Mint is grown easily from seed and will germinate where you don’t want them if the spent flowers are left to fall to the ground.
Mint can also be easily grown from root division as roots form along its runners which can be pulled out of the ground then placed in pots. Peppermint is best grown from root division and cuttings than seed as it is a hybrid.
If you don’t have a friend with mint growing in their garden you can purchase plants from Amazon. (Paid link)
How to Use Mint Leaves
Where do I start?
Mint has many uses and is believed to have been used since Roman times for fragrances and to add to their bathwater. Mint is a popular herb in many cuisines and pairs well with lamb and other red meats. The leaves can be used fresh or dried for oil extraction.
Mint Sauce – This is any easy condiment to make at home using mint leaves and a sugar syrup. Traditionally Australians and Europeans prefer mint sauce with lamb, but mint jelly is also popular. I have a recipe for making mint sauce from scratch with lamb rissoles.
Lamb – Make slits in the lamb roast then insert slices of garlic and mint leaves. Add mint to lamb mince to make koftas, meat balls and rissoles, giving the meat a burst of flavour or use in a spice rub for lamb chops or steak.
Tea – Put several leaves into your black tea for a fresh flavour and to soothe the stomach. See this guide on Drying Mint Leaves for a dried mint tea.
Cocktails – Ever heard of a “Mint Julep”?
Place the leaves in the bottom of a glass and top with 1 to 2 tsp. sugar. Stir these together until the leaves begin to break down. Add a few splashes of seltzer water, fill the glass 1/2 full with ice, add bourbon, stir then garnish with more leaves.
Mint Cordial – See this recipe for Homemade Fresh Mint Cordial.
How to Use Mint as Traditional Medicine
Peppermint is used in modern herbal medicine to aid indigestion and bloating due to gas and can help irritable bowel syndrome.
It is also believed to help relieve congestion, headaches, nerve and muscle pain. It is the menthol that gives mint its beneficial effects. Peppermint has more menthol than other varieties of mint. One study showed that capsules of peppermint oil helped relieve symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Mint for Headaches
Peppermint applied to the forehead or inhaled can help relieve headaches. Try using a diffuser with peppermint essential oils or if you don’t have any oil, try placing leaves in a small saucepan with a small amount of water. Bring to a simmer, let cool then breath in the steam (without burning your face).
Looking for Peppermint Essential Oil? Try this quality top rated essential oil from Amazon. (Paid link)
Mint for Indigestion
Place several mint leaves in a cup of black tea. Drink slowly, this will help indigestion and sooth the stomach. If you suffer from heartburn, mint may not be as effective.
To print or save this guide on how to grow and use mint, here is the PDF Version
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