Get the Most of Your Mint
Mint is refreshing, no doubt about it!
But, how can it be used to its full advantage before wilting? Read on for ideas to enjoy mint to its fullest and tips for storing it to maintain the fresh flavor.
Muddling is a term for crushing the leaves of herbs to release their aromatic oils. Muddled herbs are often used in cocktails like mojitos.
To muddle herbs, place a few washed leaves in the bottom of a glass and gently crush the leaves with a muddler. If you don’t own a muddler, just use a rolling pin or the side of a glass to roll the leaves on a cutting board and then pop the crushed leaves into a glass. Be careful to only crush the leaves and not tear them. Tearing the leaves can result in the release of chlorophyll which will give your drink a grassy flavor.
Muddled mint is also a refreshing addition to sparkling water for a a cooling drink in the afternoon.
Coarsely chop mint leaves to fill your favorite mug about a quarter of the way. Fill the rest of the way with boiling water. Allow the mint to steep for about five minutes and remove the leaves with a spoon. Let the tea cool and enjoy.
To make a minty, refreshing iced tea chop up the mint leaves, place them in a large tea ball or cheesecloth, and place it in your iced tea pitcher. Add tea bags and boiling water. Allow the tea and mint to steep for about ten minutes. Remove the tea bags and tea bag, and let the tea cool. Once cool, keep the tea in the refrigerator.
Mint and chocolate are a flavor match made in heaven. Add fresh mint to chocolate cakes and brownies for a twist.
Elevate your next dinner party with individual light chocolate cakes infused with or garnished with fresh sprigs of mint. These little cakes are decadent and healthier than most recipes since some of the usual fat content has been replaced with applesauce and Greek yogurt.
This egg-free and dairy-free vegan approved chocolate cake is so good, your guests might not even notice it’s “missing” anything! Incorporate mint into the cake batter or chop finely and add it to the fluffy frosting.
Dip mint leaves into dark chocolate for a decadent treat. Wash about 30 mint leaves and gently pat them dry with a tea towel. Set aside. Heat the chocolate in the microwave in thirty-second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth. If you don’t like to use the microwave or would like more control melting, heat the chocolate in a double boiler.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip the mint leaves in the chocolate, place on the baking sheet, and transfer to the freezer. Freeze until the chocolate is hard again. Store the dipped leaves in a freezer bag in the freezer.
Mint and other fresh herbs can be kept for quite awhile if properly stored. The following tips are great for mint, but work for other herbs.
Mint can be kept fresh just like flowers! Trim the ends of the stalk and remove lower leaves. Put the bundle of mint into a jar or mug filled with fresh water to submerge the stalks. Cover the leaves with a plastic bag and store in the fridge. Change the water every two to three days. Storing mint this way can keep it fresh for up to two weeks.
Other herbs can be stored in this exact manner. For herbs like scallions, parsley, and basil, prepare the herbs as described above, but store them at room temperature.
Dampen a paper towel or a piece of cloth large enough to wrap the mint. Gently and loosely cover the mint and place in a plastic zipper bag. Partially close the zipper top but leave some of it open for airflow and to prevent mold. Dampen the towel as needed.
Other Methods for Herb Storage
If you have more herbs than you can use, preserve them using one of these easy methods.
Creating a compound butter with fresh herbs is an easy and appealing way to extend the life of fresh herbs. Combine fresh herbs with cold butter in a food processor or by chopping the butter and combining the herbs. Once the herbs are incorporated into the butter, roll the butter into a log shape in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator. Compound butter is a great addition to cooking fish, vegetables, and starting sauces; they’re also delicious spread over toast.
Freeze in Ice Cube Trays - Frozen herbs are a great way to reduce waste and get the most out of your grocery budget, plus you’ll get fresh flavor when your favorite herbs are out of season. Chop up the herbs and place in an ice cube tray. Cover the herbs with enough liquid to almost fill the reservoir. Freeze. Store cubes in a freezer bag until you’re ready to use them.
Consider what kind of cooking you’ll be doing and add complimentary liquid. Add vegetable broth to basil or rosemary for sauces and soups. Plain water works well with mint to preserve it and make a refreshing drink.
Drying leafy herbs is easy. Hang them upside down in a cool, dark location. Place a paper bag over the herbs to keep dust off. Once the herbs are thoroughly dried, transfer them to a clean container. Cooking tip: Rub dried herbs between your hands before cooking to release their aromatic oils. For study herbs, like rosemary, coarsely chop the herbs before adding to the recipe.