Is your mint plant exploding to the point that you feel guilty for not using it?
Yeah, me too.
The great thing about mint is that it smells heavenly and it’s super easy to grow. (Quick tip: always give it it’s own container or it will choke out your garden.) The not-so-great thing about mint is that no one really knows what to do with it, in the US at least, because we mostly see mint in sweet-tasting preparations.
Not anymore! Mint itself is not any sweeter than basil or other more common herbs, you just have to get creative (and maybe a little brave) to try it in savory dishes. It’s really great in just about everything.
Aside from having great flavor, mint is extremely good for you.
Here are just a few health benefits of mint:
be used to relieve IBS, indigestion, and heartburn
possibly relieve tension headaches
be a great source of vitamins & minerals
provide an almost 0 calorie drink alternative when mixed with water (mint contains only about 5 calories per 2 tablespoons) – it’s also very low on the glycemic index
Beyond all of that, growing your own herbs is one of the most cost-effective ways to eat well and add a gourmet touch to your food. A sprouted herb plant is only about $3 (even the organic ones!) and will yield food for months, maybe even years. Buying a small packet of herbs at the store is usually $3 or more, and it’s only enough for one recipe. I plant mint, basil, chives, rosemary, thyme, and a few others every year, usually for less than 20 bucks, and I use them almost daily. It’s a no-brainer.
Back to the mint. If you have more mint than you know what to do with this should help…
Here Are 10 Ways to Use Fresh Mint:
1. Add Mint to Greek Yogurt with Berries
Berries and mint pair beautifully. Mix plain unsweetened Greek yogurt with strawberries (or mixed berries) and sprinkle with chopped fresh mint. De-lish.
2. Make Your Own Mint Tea to Aid Digestion
Use 5-10 big leaves or more depending on how strong you want it. Tear the leaves and place in a mug, then muddle the leaves for a few seconds with the back of a wooden spoon. Pour hot (not boiling) water over the leaves and let steep 5-10 minutes. You can remove the leaves or leave them in (punny!) – I leave them in and eat them as I sip.
Add 3-4 fresh mint leaves to your chocolate protein smoothie for a delicious variety. I love ice, water, chocolate protein powder, flax seeds, and mint whipped up in the blender. Mint is wonderful in berry smoothies, too.
4. Try Strawberry, Mint & Basil with Balsamic
This combo is DELICIOUS alone as a side or on top of mixed greens as a salad, or use it as a bruschetta topper with a whole grain baguette and goat cheese. Your friends will be impressed. The measurements are fluid, I’d say about 2 cups halved or quartered strawberries mixed with 10-20 leaves each of chopped mint and basil. 3-4 tablespoons of a high-quality aged balsamic will finish it perfectly.
5. Make a Minty Lime Fizzler
Muddle 5-8 mint leaves in the bottom of a glass. Add ice, a healthy squeeze of lime and club soda with a few drops of stevia to sweeten. (Is it 5 o’clock somewhere? Turn this into a low-sugar mojito by adding an ounce of white rum if you so please.)
6. Try a Watermelon, Basil, Mint Salad with Feta
Just four ingredients and this salad will wow you. Add a sprinkle of sea salt to round out the flavors. Again, the measurements are fluid, use the same measurements as the strawberry salad above.
Mediterranean Herb Quinoa Salad Recipe (here), which is way more affordable when you grow your own herbs
Make Watermelon Pizza with Mint: Sprinkle fresh mint on your watermelon fruit pizza for an extra special (and easy!) dessert.
10. Jazz Up Your Water
Add fresh mint to plain or sparkling water, or even freeze whole leaves in ice cubes to add beautiful color to your beverage.
Or, Make Mint Ice Cubes
Freeze whole mint leaves into ice cubes for a pretty (and tasty) addition to your water. Place 2-3 small whole mint leaves (or a few torn large ones) into an ice cube tray (look for a BFA-free or silicone one). Add purified water and freeze. If you boil the water your ice cubes will be crystal clear; let it cool to room temp before adding it to your ice cube trays.
These ideas will get you started so we can all finally stop the mint guilt.
Do you have any other great ways to use up fresh mint? Add it in the comments below to share with other readers in our community.
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