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Jun 10, 2008 04:54 PM

Uses for spearmint

So Mr. HR decided that he wanted to plant some spearmint. Luckily it's in a pot so it won't overrun the garden. However, I have no idea what to do with it.
Anyone have suggestions for spearmint? Would I use it the same way I would use regular mint?


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  1. What do you mean "regular" mint? to me, spearmint is the default mint and other varieties (like peppermint) are alternatives.

    First of all, don't be afraid to prune it. Like basil, mint enjoys being cut back and you'll end up with a bushier plant with bigger leaves.

    As for uses, everything! It takes a very large amount of leaves to flavor iced tea, so I sometimes take a few big handfuls and throw it into freshly brewed black tea. Remove after five or ten minutes so it doesn't go bitter.

    Use in mixed drinks, Nigella Lawson's watermelon salad, shredded in salads, in Vietneamese spring rolls, and garnish desserts with it. Sometimes I cut big bunches and use them in place of a floral bouquet. It makes the house smell nice. Enjoy!

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pei

      Thanks for the tips Pei. Funny thing is, I always considered peppermint to be the "default mint". No matter...I'm sure we will be enjoying some mint tea, and other delicious drinks all summer.

      1. re: HungryRubia

        I guess it just depends which one you like better! Peppermint always reminds me of candy canes and Christmas. Spearmint is what's in mojitos, mint n' chip ice cream, and summery savory dishes and so I think of it as more versatile

    2. Be glad you know what it is. I have a black thumb, so I once bought a pre-planted herb pot at the nursery. I had a small quantity of uncooked shrimp in the freezer, some roasted garlic, leftover pasta, tube of tomato paste etc. So I improvised a shrimp priomavera dish, and was about to plate it when I realized that I had (what I thought was) basil in the herb planter. I plucked a bunch of leaves but had already stirred them into the sauce before the mint smell hit me. Oh well, the dogs liked it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        mind sounds delicious in a shrimp primavera dish

        remind to ask you to give me what the dogs are having

        1. re: thew

          Did you taste it? It also sounds good to me. I substitute spearmint for basil freely, since it is so easy to grow.

          My local Thai restaurant uses spearmint in place of Thai basil quite often.

          I discovered that a few mint leaves with melon and prosciutto is nice and looks a bit fancy on the plate. It went over well at our last block party.

      2. I always think of spearmint as the "default" mint too. My favorite way to use spearmint, besides the already mentioned iced tea, is to tear and scatter it over grilled vegetables. It's unexpected and delicious.

        1. iced tea
          fruit salad
          grilled seafood
          homemade ice cream!

          1. I saute zucchini and summer squash in butter. Just at the end, I spritz some lemon juice and a handful of finely chopped mint. I turn the heat off and mix in about 1 tbsp of honey. Yummy! The flavors are really unique!