Seafarer Mama (Karen) loves to lose herself in the culinary arts by mixing her storytelling with sharing recipes.
Fragrant, Prolific Mint
Merry Months of Mint
What would summer be without the cooling touch of mint? The plant is prolific and the leaves add to the levity of our warm summer months. There's lots to love about bright green peppermint leaves. Their shape and texture are unique and their color is soothing. Their flavor and fragrance are refreshing and promote feelings of joy and relaxation. In addition to the pleasing effects of fresh mint, this ancient, revered plant benefits our lives in the following ways.
Lucky Green Mint
The color green is the color of luck, abundance, health, and healing. Green is also the color of hope, growth, renewal, and rebirth. Green is often paired with words like "go" and "safe." Seeing so much of the color in nature relaxes us as we recover from the stress of hard work while we're on vacation.
Mint's benefits to our well-being are numerous. Mint relieves tension headaches if the leaves are used to make a poultice and applied to the temples. Infused in boiling water as tea, mint relaxes upset stomachs and soothes coughs that come with congestion. The relaxing scent and flavor of mint tea also relieve insomnia.
In addition to its many health benefits, mint also keeps pests away. Wasps will stay away from mint, so I've raised a sizable patch under my back deck to discourage wasps from creating nests between the wooden beams that hold it up. Now I can enjoy sipping tea on my back deck without fear of being stung. Mint also repels rats, mice and flies.
Feeding the Bees
When the mint plant flowers, allowing the flowers to bloom instead of clipping them off will attract bees to the plant. They favor the sweet nectar the flowers provide, which I can imagine is as delicious as the leaves.
Mint in Food
Mint-flavored ice cream is one of my favorite summertime treats. Mint leaves are also used in savory dishes by the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. Mint is the signature ingredient in mint juleps, but also brightens the flavor of iced tea, especially when the tea is home-brewed.
When the weather begins to grow warmer, I run out to my deck with a giant jar filled with water and a bundle of tea bags to set them out to "brew" in the sun. Below I've included my recipe for a cool, mint-garnished sun tea.
Iced Sun Tea Garnished With Mint Leaves
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|Prep time||Cook time||Ready in||Yields|
5 hours 15 min
Depends on size of brewing container.
- 13 bags decaffeinated tea, tied together
- 4-5 leaves fresh mint
- Fill a large glass jar with water.
- Tie together 13 tea bags and remove the tags.
- Place bundle of tea bags in the water and put the lid on the jar.
- Place jar in a sunny patch of your porch/patio/deck for 2-4 hours.
- Harvest a stem full of mint leaves from your garden and set aside. You can also buy fresh mint leaves at the grocery store.
- When the tea has been "brewed" sufficiently by the sun, bring inside. Add ice to a glass, ladle in some sun tea, and add the mint leaves and any other garnish you like. Lemon wedges, cinnamon sticks, berries, and honey are a few favorites.
- Savor in your favorite place to bask in the sun or shade.
Nutrition Notes for Iced Sun Tea with Mint
Choosing a Tea
The nutrition in sun tea varies with the types of ingredients used. Decaffeinated teas are better than those with caffeine because they don't put you at risk for dehydration, and they are safer for children to enjoy. Your favorite tea, such as green, fruity or spiced, tastes delicious when kissed by the sun, then served with ice and some garnish for extra flavor. Mint has always been one of my favorite garnishes for iced tea, along with lemon, cinnamon and honey.
Mint can take over a plot of land if given half a chance, so if you are inclined to grow it yourself it's best to keep it contained in a pot. Organic mint is best because it's been grown in soil that is full of nutrients, and not harmful chemicals.
Hybrid mint plants in a variety of flavor mixes are now sold online by organic gardens and farms. Examples of these include Chocolate Mint, Lavender Mint and Orange Bergamot mint. Those same sites also provide some delicious recipes for using the leaves. Browsing around local farm stands close to your home may reap surprising treasures in the form of unique varieties of mint plants to grow and enjoy as garnish for your food and drinks.
If you are going to be choosy about your tea, taking care in selecting organic fruit or berries to chop up and add to your glass raises the nutritional value of a glass of iced sun tea. It can be fun to experiment with different types of fruit to find your own favorite summer tea drink. Have fun!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Karen A Szklany
Karen A Szklany (author) from New England on May 13, 2020:
I agree. I've been letting it grow at the edges of some of my garden beds, next to my rhubarb and chives, and under my deck in my rock & moss meditation garden. My favorite way to enjoy mint is in home-brewed iced sun tea. Also love it in tabouleh. I want to try growing chocolate mint now.
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 13, 2020:
I am glad that you mentioned keeping it in a pot or a contained space. When we first moved into our current home, mint was growing willy-nilly in all of our garden beds. It took some time to keep pulling it out and get it under control. It grows like a weed! That is a good thing, or bad, depending upon what a person wants. It does have a lovely flavor, and there are so many different kinds of mint.
Karen A Szklany (author) from New England on October 29, 2019:
And what a versatile plant to be able to grow! So refreshing all year round.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 29, 2019:
You know what I like about mints? Even I can grow them! :) And like Eric this reminds me to plan on a planting this spring, so thank you, Karen!
Karen A Szklany (author) from New England on June 17, 2019:
Absolutely! Thanks for dropping by Eric.
Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on June 16, 2019:
Thanks. I need to get more into mint.
Karen A Szklany (author) from New England on June 15, 2019:
Thank you for sharing your favorite ways to enjoy mint! Glad you found away to get around pesky squirrel shenanigans! ~:0)
RTalloni on June 14, 2019:
Am sipping a cup of peppermint tea as I reply to this rich hub and wishing for some chocolate cookies to go with it. :) Am growing chocolate mint in several pots for drying to use as tea, but fresh leaves are pretty on a chocolate cake with white frosting. Can you tell my favorite pairing is chocolate and mint? Thanks for sharing your recipe...what a summer treat! Another reason I love growing it in pots is that it deters destructive squirrels that would uproot and ruin everything in them.