There’s an overwhelming freshness when it comes to spring! While I love the sweet fragrances of hyacinths and lilies of the valley that fill the air, there’s something soothing and wonderful when it comes to the smell of fresh mint plants.
With so many varieties of mint now available, this is the perfect time for you to experi-mint beyond the usual spearmint and peppermint plants that are readily available.
Some of my favorite mint plants are: orange, apple, strawberry – these really do smell and taste like fruit! There’s even a mojito mint plant (oh yeah, bring on those home-made fresh mojito drinks).
Most mint plants are perennial and tend to spread. By planting a variety of mint in a large container, you’ll keep them from taking over your yard and the mint will be handy for plucking when needed.
There’s even a chocolate mint that is a great garnish for ice cream or blended into a chocolate smoothie. The apple, orange and strawberry mints are wonderful in ice tea, lemonade, smoothies or cocktails. Bruising mint leaves before adding them to your drinks or recipes releases even more flavor.
Try chopped spearmint mixed into yogurt with dashes of salt, pepper and cumin, then add a squeeze of lemon and finely diced cucumbers to create a fresh, healthy dip for pita chips or use as a dressing for pita style sandwiches.
Freeze whole fresh mint leaves in ice cube trays. Add the cubes to your summer drinks to keep them cool, giving them a hint of mint. Freeze an extra ice cube tray of mint leaves in lemonade and add the cubes to your ice tea or water. The lemonade and mint gives your drink a zing as the cubes melt. You can also freeze mint with a squirt of freshly squeezed lemon juice. For tropical drinks, freeze a fruity mint (such as orange or strawberry) in ice cube trays filled with orange juice or pineapple juice.
Lastly, have some fun with your mint ice cubes. Sure, the square cubes are fine, but why not add a touch of whimsy to your drinks by adding ice cubes in the shape of hearts, animals, tiki heads, Buddah, ships, etc. They are easily found online or at retail stores and can add some extra fun when serving up your festive summer drinks.
Go ahead, EXPERI-MINT!