Too Much Mint
As the result of a serious gardening mistake, which I really should have known better than to have made, I now have an entire raised bed, about 5 ft. by 3 ft., of flourishing mint. I need to get rid of it so that I can grow some actual vegetables, but I don't know how to use it in such quantity. There are only so many juleps a girl can drink, and I can't imagine throwing it away.
BTW, ice cream is out of the question as I have neither an ice cream maker nor room in the freezer to store it.
Thanks for your ideas, chowcooks!
Two suggestions (but one involves freezer space):
1) Make "pesto" the same way you would using basil, but substitute the mint. It's a fantastic alternative, lighter and fresher-tasting than traditional basil-based pesto. And it stores in the freezer very well.
2) Make simple syrup (3 or 2 parts water to 1 part sugar, depending on your taste); once the syrup has boiled for 5 minutes, throw in fists-ful of the mint leaves and steep them, off the heat, for an hour. The resultant syrup stores for weeks in the refrigerator, and can be used for mojitos (with more fresh mint leaves), or as an accompaniment to fresh strawberries.
I am not personally a big fan on the traditional mint jelly that was one de rigeur with lamb, but if anyone ever wanted to make a awesome homeade batch of the stuff, you would be the person to know.
dry some for mint tea, and drink it iced all summer and warm all winter.
make a very minty tabouli, heavy on the herbs (mint and parsely) as it should be.
or seriously, just compost the stuff. it grows so well that i suspect you will never lack for mint again. why burn out on it now, i am sure you will miss some roots and it will grow back in between your veggies.
Good point. My husband made the same mistake in a bed in our front yard two years ago. He eventually tore up a lot of it. But there are still a few isolated plants there among the flowers he ended up planting....enough for the occasional sprig that I might need for a drink or a recipe....
Hmmmm, the perfect reason why one should always grow mint in a pot rather than in the ground. Will it come back after wintered over, you bet! Mine comes back right in the pot every spring and i don't have to worry about it spreading where i don't want it. BTW mint is fabulous in fresh fruit ambrosa, sans the whipped cream, who need it? Just frest fruit of your choice, sliced, frest mint chopped and shredded coconut. Fabulous!
I love Moroccan mint tea and drink it whenever I end up with fresh mint. To make it, put a big handful of fresh mint leaves and stalks in a teapot. Add 1 T. of green tea leaves and 1 oz. sugar. Fill the pot with boiling water and brew for 5 minutes. (I don't like sugar in tea so I leave it out but traditionally the Moroccan's make it with sugar).
I also have mint volunteers, no matter how much I rip up, it always comes back.
Don't know how much you like to cook, but mint is great in the following:
--a salad with cold roasted beets, goat cheese, and toasted walnuts
--fresh peas or pea soup
--marinated baby artichokes with lemon
--Thai basil chicken but with mint, ask, I have a recipe
--herb salad (mixed in with baby lettuces and/or other fresh herbs)
Can you tell I love to cook?
Sure. I buy the baby artichokes, about the size of an egg. If you trim them well you can eat them whole as their choke is undeveloped. The way you do this, you break off the outside leaves until the remaining ones are pale yellow/green two thirds of the way up. Then you cut off the top of the artichoke, the dark green part. Then cut off the stem below the base. Then trim the outside of the base to remove any part that is dark green and looks fibrous. Keep a bowl/small pot of water with lemon juice and dip any cut part. When it is trimmed, throw it in the bowl and start on the next. This may seem like a lot of trimming but it is important to get rid of all the inedible parts, you will be eating it whole.
When they are all done, put a couple of mint leaves in and some olive oil and salt and put the pot on to simmer, low. The artichokes will be cooked through in 5-10 minutes, test by poking the base with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove from heat, cool, and refrigerate. Good cold or at room temp.
Amount for 10-15 baby artichokes:
1 qt pan
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 t salt
1 sprig mint leaves
water to cover, 1-2 c
If you have larger artichokes, the trimming & cooking method is a little different, but you can still use mint, lemon, and olive oil in the cooking/steaming water.
I buy a lot of mint specially to make Mint Pilaf. I love that dish and can eat it all by itself or as a side. There are two different ways I make it. Take about a cup of mint, a small piece of ginger, a little onion, two green chillies, a clove of garlic, and a small spoon of yogurt (to add a touch of creaminess, though you can skip it if you want) and grind it all together into a paste. Take the ground paste and saute it lightly in a pan for a few minutes and add to any long grained rice (I use Basmati) and cook it together in the microwave. Salt the dish to your preference.
Another way to do it is: Saute fresh mint along with the rest of the ingredients till the leaves wilt to a dark green color and then grind it. Mix it with pre-cooked white or brown rice, salt it, and it should taste great.
I'll echo cooling mint beverages - teas, lemonades, limeades.
How about a granita? You don't need an ice cream maker. Or mint ice cubes, or mint-lemon popsicles? When we were little we made our own Italian ices in Dixie cups in the freezer and that wouldn't take up a lot of space.
Freeze some watermelon cubes and then pop in blender with lime juice, orange juice, and mint for a refreshing treat.
Rhubarb-mint soda. Boil down some rhubarb with sugar into syrup and add with the mint to some sparkling water or seltzer.
Mint in fruit salads with hot cayenne adds complexity of flavor -- I love this when traveling in Latin America.
Make a big batch of mint simple syrup - it'll keep and it'll give you that lovely fresh mint flavor all summer.
Someone suggested a granita and that would be great. Champagne makes a great granita when paired with mint or basil and a handful of sugar. No ice cream maker required.
And have a big party and serve mojitos!!!
YUM! Serendipitously, I spotted this mint-in-sandwich idea as I headed into the kitchen to make my lunch. It turned out to be a zesty little addition to my honey ham and provolone with dijon and mayo. I added about five smallish leaves to the sandwich and it really transformed my lunch into something special! Each bite really pops with the mint highlighting the bite in the ham and provolone and countering the creaminess of the spread.
re: foxy fairy
Funny this subject should come up. We had some leftover mint chutney, and today my husband insisted it would be good on his turkey sandwhich. So here was his creation: Smoked deli-sliced turkey, lettuce, tomato, sliced onion, a sprinkle of salt, mayo and mint chutney on toasted sourdough. Seriously, that was one of the best sandwhiches I've eaten in a long time!!!
When I run out of the chutney I'm going to try the leaves.....
Good luck getting rid of the mint. It's extremely invasive and hard to eradicate. As you've now learned the hard way, mint should only be grown in pots!
Anyway, back to mint recipes. I like to rub a boned leg of lamb with a sort of "pesto" containing fresh mint, fresh rosemary, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. (You can whizz it up in a food processor to make a paste.) Slather it all over the meat and throw it in a large zip-top bag for 2 hours to overnight. Grill it over charcoal until medium-rare... yum. Great with fresh pita bread and tzatziki.
Seriously, however, I wouldn't worry about just throwing the mint away. Trust me, you will never be short of mint. Your problem will be pulling it out constantly!
I've been known to overbuy mint, never as much as you have though. However, here are a few more ideas that I will probably tap into on my next impulse buy. They involve more than a sprig or teaspoon of mint.
Here's how to dry mint in the microwave and other tips
I will warn you having played with drying herbs in the microwave to watch them. I set fire to the paper towels once. To me it was time-consuming. You can reduce a huge amount of herbs, but all that crumbling them ... bored the heck out of me
Lots of recipes out there for stuffing whole fish with mint. This one for trout stuffed with mint and orange looked good.
Fresh mint liquor
A couple of ideas ... the lime-mint iced tea sounds good
Some nice mint recipes
Fresh mint truffles
I bought a delicious spearmint sugar at a Farmers Market a few weeks ago. It appears to be dried mint pulverized with sugar. I had some on fresh strawberries this morning. Delicious!
Sorry about your veggie bed. Good luck getting rid of the mint. I have my mint in a pot on my patio and my raised veggie bed is clear across the garden-- once that mint gets in the ground, it just wants to take over.
I recently had the infamous "mint love letters" dish at Babbo, and it was wonderful and I think not totally impossible to replicate: it was ravioli with fresh mint and lamb sausage. I think you could buy wonton wrappers and make this as ravioli, but I also think that freshly chopped mint mixed into purchased lamb sausage would be delicious over pasta, which is of course less work.
Second idea -- vietnamese spring rolls, which I love making and eating, are so good with mint in them, and are fresh and light and summery...
Last - if you do have extra and dont like to throw things away, just chop it up, and put it into an ice cube tray with a little water over it and you'll be able to use it later - would make amazing cubes for mojitos and juleps for the rest of the summer!
"I need to get rid of it so that I can grow some actual vegetables," Yep, you said it!
While you're sipping those Juleps, that Imperialist Mint has designs on more than your 15 square foot raised bed. It has likely already sent out roots everywhere - under the paths and lawn, far and wide. It can grow under concrete and spring up yards away.
Print out all these terrific recipes. Harvest some of this mint for them. Pot up some more and place it far away - preferably in solitary confinement on concrete so it can't escape. And then get serious. The gardening equivalent of going nuclear is Roundup. It works as a super-fertilizer that overfeeds a plant and forces it to use all of its energy to grow too fast, too quickly and sort of commit suicide. If you pull up the mint, you'll leave thousand of tiny roots to sprout again everywhere.
When the mint is completely dry and dead, pull up as much of the dead mint as you can, till the bed deeply and plant good vegetables.
In a bed that size you can grow 4 Roma tomatoes on a tepee, 100 red onion sets, more than enough basil, several other herbs, maybe 2 pepper plants. I've done that.
You will still have plenty of mint from the stuff that's going to be popping up all over your garden from the roots that have likely been sent out from that flourishing bed just this Spring.
So keep all these good recipes. You'll want them.
Most of my gardening is for cooking but sometimes it's warfare.
Mint, my Waterloo in my former home in Modesto! I had so much of it that there was no way to use it all.
Mint with cucumber slices is very nice in cold water. A great substitute for iced tea.
Beware-- never, never plant mint in the ground, only in a container. The runners can go on forever, the roots can be up to a feet deep. I learned this the hard way one summer when it took me a week to dig out a 4 x 4 ft square area of mint.
At least I smelled very nice for the week....
Humm perhaps it goes well in bath water...
Pretty drastic measure - selling your house in Modesto to get rid of your mint!
Love the stuff but some folks just don't understand the consequences when they buy that pretty little plant at the nursery, do they?
The worst part is that the better quality the mint variety, the more invasive it is.
I use it as filler in vases with garden flowers and the danged stuff roots in the water in a few days time.
If you have room to dry it, you can use the dried stuff to make tea. Once thouroughly dried it can keep at least 6 months, before the flavor stars to fade. If you dry all of it you can then give it away to friends, neighbours, random people on the street. Very soothing no caffine beverage, hot or cold.
Your post is so timely! I just made the most to-die-for Mojito Slushies last night with *my* surplus of mint! I promise you, these are the most refreshing and delicious summer drinks you can imagine. I am pasting the URL link below, but just in case it doesn't come through, go to Food TV's website and search on "mojito slushies". Be sure you pick the Tyler Florence recipe, and not the Racheal Ray one. I promise you (+ your family/ friends) will not be disappointed! http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recip...
Family Mint sauce recipe:
- Pick off a bunch of leaves (as you might basil) and discard the woody stems.
- Finely chop leaves (add a little salt right now if you'd like to draw out flavor)
- Combine with a little water and vinegar (for a salsa like consistency) and sugar - if desired - and let it sit and get happy... 10 to 24 hrs.
- make the water hot, so the mint seeps a bit like tea (ready to eat much sooner)
- use a darker vinegar or really good balsamic to create a deeper flavor
- it need not be as thick as pesto - wetter/runnier is fine
On any lamb. Roasts, chops, leg, etc. Drizzle on when plating - or better let your guests garnish their own plate based on personal tastes. Stick it in a bowl like gravy, etc. to be passed around. When we do Sunday roast dinners, I end up pouring a good chunk on the veggies, potato, gravy, etc.
There's one condiment - I don't remember the name of it - that they serve at Middle-Eastern restaurants that's nothing without plenty of mint. I know you drain yogurt to make it thick, then add finely chopped (seeded, salted to remove excess water) cucumbers, and mint. Use it to top nan (bread, sort of like pita), rice, anything for a gread Mid-east spin. You can also make a similar dish w/o yogurt - I think you use cucumber, mint, vinegar, a little sugar. You can top it with dried sumac (another salt-or-sour-like condiment from the Mid-east grocery) and it's really good.
If you want to plant mint in the ground if you live in an area where it won't overwinter in a pot.... drill a fewholes in the bottom of a rubbermaid container for drainage, plant the mint in the container and plant the container in the ground leaving a 1-2 in lip above ground.
Plastic becomes brittle and cracks after a few years, especially if there is any freezing at all. The roots of the mint will escape through the smallest crack and enlarge it. They will likely escape through the drainage hole in any case. It also sends out runners so it may jump the lip. You can't plant mint in the ground unless you are prepared to let it take over the area where you plant it or keep fighting it back. It's just an invasive plant.
My mint chutney recipe:
1 bunch mint, washed and coursely chopped
1 bnch cilantro, ditto
1/2 onion, ditto
juice of one lime
one jalapeno, seeded and chopped
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp coriander powder
Put everything in a food processor, add about a quarter cup of water, and process until desired consistency. Add a little water while processing if necessary. Taste and adjust seasonings.
I may be late getting to this post, but I have some ideas for anyone else who comes across it. I like it chopped up and tossed into some basmati rice, or in a cucumber cream cheese sandwich. Also, when I was a little girl, I used to make a crunchy mint leaf candy. The recipe was basically like this: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Candied-M.... I never used mint extract, but I'm sure that would be great.
On another note, I'd like to add my opinion about mint being an invasive plant. Sure, it grows like crazy, but depending on your situation, why not let it? Planted among some taller plants, it's a refreshing and lovely smelling groundcover - I just trim the sprigs down instead of trying to fight it too much. Since its root system is relatively shallow compared to other plants, it's easy to pull up if it's heading in a direction I don't like, and I'd rather have the mint than bare ground.
Mint Salad dressing!
This is truly delicious and can be used as a sauce or a dip as well... it's fairly thick.
Creamy Mint Dressing
.5 cup hulled hemp seeds
1 cup spring water
.5 lemon juiced
.25 cups apple cider vinegar
.75 cups olive oil
.5 tea sea salt
2 tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup
10 big sprigs (or 1 bunch) fresh mint, chopped
In a blender, blend hemp seeds and water till creamy.
Add remaining ingredients (except for olive oil) and blend well
With the blender on low drizzle in olive oil till desired consistency is met.
Adjust seasoning to taste.
Sorry about that.
Add the juice from half a lemon.
You can find hemp seed at most "health food" stores. I'm not sure what it adds other than "Hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life." - taken from Wikipedia.
Perhaps you can try raw sunflower seeds? When you whip up the hemp and water in the blender it becomes creamy.
Hope this helps.
I love mint and I eat them pretty much like a vegetable in a mint omelet in this way:
Strip of a bunch of mint leaves. Shred leaves into thin strips.
Beat eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Add shredded mint leaves and mix so the leaves are coated with eggs.
Light application of olive oil in a saute pan, and fry for a minute. Flip, fry another minute.
Measurements? Roughly one large handful of mint leaves per egg. But I like mint so much that my omelets look green. . You may want to adjust.
Key for this is to salt adequately as mint does have a slight grassy flavour in large quantities..