Mind the Mint

8b858fdedd4611e2b23022000a1f9ad5_7When Kathrin asked me to write a post about mint I immediately thought of the spearmint that grows wild in paddocks on my mother-in-law’s farm. As you walk, your gumboots kick up the freshest mint aroma. It’s especially strong during summer when the smell inspires salads, dressings and sauces, all lifted by this versatile herb. Come and cook with us!

With so much mint growing it’s no surprise that it is often included in meals at the farm. We all love heading out to ‘tickle the spuds’(dig potatoes) from the garden and grab a handful of mint to throw in the pot when they are almost tender. Another handful of mint goes into the mint sauce served with cold lamb. We throw together a salad, usually from ingredients grown just outside, to complete our typical summer meal.

My mint supply at home is much more modest with just a couple of pots growing continuously outside. I need to keep two pots rotating as my mint succumbs to rust and needs to be whacked back every few months to grow again. I think because mint is one of the two herbs (the other being parsley) that is always growing, I may over-use it in salads. I even sprinkle a bit of finely sliced mint over summer fruit salads. But the family doesn’t complain and I feel good knowing that everyone’s health is getting a little boost when I throw in the mint.

When you see the depth of the green colour in fresh mint you can equate this with high levels of vitamins such as Vitamin A and C and minerals including magnesium, copper, iron potassium and calcium. Mint is a decongestant and a mug of mint tea following a meal is great for digestion. The health benefits attributed to mint are as numerous as its uses.

If you haven’t already, start a pot of mint growing and experience the freshness it adds to your cooking. Enjoy!

by Carmel Ireland in Auckland, New Zealand

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