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9 Ways to Use Mint Leaves From Your Garden

Abby Slutsky loves baking, cooking, and entertaining. She uses freshly grown mint in many of her recipes.

Mint in my garden. This may be one of the few plants that grows better than weeds.

Mint in my garden. This may be one of the few plants that grows better than weeds.

Although I do not have a green thumb, one herb that grows effortlessly is mint. When I was in culinary school, another student offered me some from his garden. I did not know enough to plant it in a container—which means that I'm now constantly pulling it out by the roots or killing it with vinegar in order to prevent it from overtaking the other plants.

Not only does mint grow and spread easily, but the deer seem to hate it. Given my never-ending crop, I am always searching for ways to use it up. Here are some ideas that anyone with an over-abundance of mint might enjoy.

1. Mint Ice Cubes

Although you have to make them in an ice tray, mint ice cubes make a drink look special. Put a leaf into each cube mold, and fill it with water. They add a little flavor to ice water and complement iced tea beautifully.

Try these chocolate mint leaves as a garnish for ice cream or dessert.

Try these chocolate mint leaves as a garnish for ice cream or dessert.

2. Chocolate Mint Leaves

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce of dark or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon butter

Instructions

  1. Chop the chocolate and melt it with the butter. I usually melt it in a double boiler, but you can use a microwave and heat it 15 seconds at a time until it melts (usually 45 seconds to a minute if it is chopped first).
  2. Stir the chocolate and butter until it is smooth.
  3. Place the clean, dry leaves on a piece of parchment.
  4. Brush them with the chocolate mixture.
  5. Slide a cookie sheet under the parchment, and transfer the leaves to the freezer.
  6. After about 1 hour, they will be firm.
  7. Flip them and brush the other side with chocolate, if desired. Freeze them for another 45 minutes.

You can store the leaves in an airtight container in the freezer. Use them to garnish desserts. Try them with vanilla or chocolate ice cream, or put them next to some fresh berries and whipped cream. These are also delicious as a garnish for hot cocoa.

3. Simple Mint Garnish

Mint leaves are pretty. The vibrancy of the leaves adds color to the platter and makes the presentation appealing. Use them attached to their sprigs to tuck around meat, chops, or fish.

4. Easy Pasta With Mint, Romano, and Parmesan Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 lb corkscrew noodles
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 6 mint leaves
  • ½ cup Romano and Parmesan cheese, mixed
  • ¾ teaspoon red hot pepper flakes
  • Dash of pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Boil some water. Add the corkscrew pasta noodles to the water, and cook them about 20 minutes or until they are just soft.
  2. Melt ½ cup of butter over low flame and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  3. Add the pepper flakes, pepper and salt. Turn off the flame.
  4. Drain the pasta and toss with the butter mixture and cheese.
  5. Just before serving, create chiffonade mint strips, and lightly toss them into the pasta.
The mint will look attractive when it is thinly cut (chiffonade techniques).

The mint will look attractive when it is thinly cut (chiffonade techniques).

5. Minty Salad or Fruit

Add mint leaves to a green salad. The crisp flavor complements lettuce leaves, cucumber, and tomato well. Drizzle a quality balsamic vinegar on top.

Mint is also delicious with fruit. Try filling a half a cantaloupe with mixed berries. Sprinkle some chiffonade-cut mint on the berries, and gently toss them.

How to Do the Chiffonade Technique

  1. Pile the mint leaves so the largest are on the bottom.
  2. Roll up the leaves, and cut very thin strips. If desired, use culinary scissors to narrowly cut the strips. (I have a pair I use just for vegetables.) The thin mint strands will accent your berries beautifully.

6. Mint Salsa

I am not a fan of mint jelly, but salsa with a hint of mint is a family favorite.

Ingredients

  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 shallot
  • 1/4 green pepper
  • 6 large mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • ¾ tablespoon olive oil

Instructions

  1. Remove the seeds from the tomato.
  2. Chop the tomato into small pieces.
  3. Chop the shallot and pepper into smaller pieces. Finely chop the mint.
  4. Add the lime juice and oil to the mixture.

Refrigerate it until you are ready to use it. This looks beautiful on chicken, fish or meat.

7. Mint Extract

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 cup dry, clean mint leaves

Instructions

  1. Pour the vodka in a small bottle.
  2. Add ½ cup of clean, dry mint leaves.
  3. Keep it sealed for about five weeks, and your extract will be ready to use.

Try it in chocolate cake, homemade ice creams, chocolate pudding, or hot chocolate.

8. Beverages That Use Mint

Mint Tea

Steep a few leaves in hot water. Mint tea is delicious plain or with a squeeze of lemon. A cup can also help freshen your breath.

Minty Alcoholic Beverages

I am not adept at creating my own alcoholic drink recipes, but here are some of my favorites. Mojitos use mint and are a refreshing summer drink. You can also try a variation of lime or lemonade with vodka and mint. You don't have to be at a horse race to enjoy a mint julep. These drinks take only minutes to prepare and are delicious to enjoy on a summer day or serve at a party.

9. Floral Bouquet

Although this is not an idea that involves eating the mint, it takes advantage of the beauty of the plant. Vibrant mint leaves can add interest to a floral arrangement. Their soft, minty aroma can keep the bouquet smelling fresh.

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.

© 2020 Abby Slutsky

Comments

Abby Slutsky (author) from LAFAYETTE HL on August 03, 2020:

Thanks for reading.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 03, 2020:

When we moved into this home, the former owner had mint planted in all of her garden beds. It took quite some time to get it eradicated. Now I limit growing mint to pots where it can be controlled. Your suggestions of how to use it are useful. It does add great flavor to drinks and dishes.

Abby Slutsky (author) from LAFAYETTE HL on July 31, 2020:

Thanks for reading.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on July 31, 2020:

This is certainly a number of wonderful ways to use mint and in a tasty way. I enjoyed reading your article, Abby. I will copy a copy of these recipes.