Peppermint is a hybrid of spearmint and watermint, that is considered to be the most important of all the mints, possessing a very pure mint aroma. The leaves of the plant are green and long, and often have a metallic sheen on their upper sides.
Peppermint is an important herb that is widely used to make teas, and added to salads, and sauces. It is often used as an edible garnish with ice cream and chocolate desserts.
Apart from its culinary uses, Peppermint is also used in pot-pourris, liqueurs, shampoos and lotions. The herb is also used medicinally in treating colds, colic, nerve pains and more.
The leaves of the plant are green and long, and often have a metallic sheen on their upper sides. All mints have square stems.
Selecting and Buying
Preparation and Use
The leaves and flowering tops are used, they are collected as soon as the flowers begin to open and then are carefully dried.
Peppermint has a high menthol content, and is often used as tea and for flavouring ice cream, confectionery, chewing gum, and toothpaste.
Conserving and Storing
Fresh mint can be used in many ways around the home. From cooking, as a decoration or even placed in your closet as an air freshener. But as most people know, herbs are best when they are freshest. And with prices at the market, it begs the question, "How does one keep mint fresh?" Here are a few ideas on how to store it to preserve freshness.
Snip the ends. Assuming you've already gotten your mint home from the store or picked it fresh from the garden, the simplest thing you can do to store and keep mint fresh is to snip the ends. Much like fresh flowers, snipping the end provides a fresh "wound" or "cut" to the plant stem which can more readily accept water. Place the mint in a small vase. It should keep several days this way.
Refrigerate it. If you need the mint to stay fresh slightly longer, another way to store the mint is to seal it in an airtight container and place it in the fridge. This should keep the mint fresh for ten to fourteen days.
Freeze the mint. If your time horizon is slightly longer, seal the mint in a zip lock storage container and place it in your freezer. Experts say this will keep your mint up to three months, although no more than 45 days is probably ideal.
Dry mint leaves. Mint leaves are dried like many other herbs. Wash the herbs in cold running water, making sure to leave the stems on. Drain thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. Then hang the mint upside down or place the mint in the sun. In a couple of days the mint should be dry and ready for storage. Place in a sealed container and store in your pantry.