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Ingredient

Mint

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A.K.A

spearmint, peppermint

What is it?

The quintessential herb of spring, mint adds a fresh, crisp flavor to just about anything. There are more than 200 mint varieties, all of which fall into one of two categories: spearmint or peppermint. What you see labeled as simply “mint” in the grocery store is usually spearmint, but shop at a farmers’ market and you’ll find a mind-boggling variety.

Spearmint is the most versatile of mints, with a natural affinity with fruits and spring vegetables (think peas, asparagus, and artichokes), herbs like basil and cilantro, and spices like ginger,cumin, and cardamom. Its relatively mild flavor makes it ideal for a variety of savory dishes,including grilled and roasted meats. Spearmint varieties include pineapple mint, with a fragrance of fresh pineapple and a slightly sweeter flavor than regular spearmint; apple mint, with a hint of green apple (try it in iced tea); curly mint, with ruffled leaves; and smooth-leaf mint, with soft, velvety leaves.

Peppermint is similar in flavor to spearmint, but it contains menthol, which gives it a stronger flavor and a cooling sensation on the palate. Peppermint is assertive enough to stand up to strong flavors, so it’s ideal for chocolate desserts and boldly flavored dishes. Peppermint varieties include orange mint, with overtones of orange and bergamot; chocolate mint, with an unmistakeable hint of chocolate; ginger mint; and grapefruit mint.

How to prep:

Mint starts to blacken after it’s cut, so wait until the last minute before chopping or tearing it and adding it to a dish. When appropriate, tear the leaves gently instead of cutting them, to help prevent blackening.

How to store:

Store mint bunches with the cut stems in a glass of water and cover the leaves with a plastic bag. Refrigerate, changing the water every couple of days. It should stay fresh for at least 1 week.

Comments

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Comments

  • Eliot_W | 04/29/2019

    All mint does NOT “fall into one of two categories: spearmint or peppermint.” As peppermint is actually one of the only mints you listed that is comprised of other kinds of mint. Peppermint was made of spearmint and water mint. Peppermint and spearmint are just the two most common kinds of mint. You also say “but it contains menthol” about peppermint implying that spearmint and all the other kinds of mint that you listed under spearmint, that are just as equal to spearmint, don’t have menthol. When menthol is the chemical responsible for the taste of mint. The different amounts of menthol in mints is the primary reason for differences in taste between mint plants. You can’t have the flavor of mint without menthol. Overall, inaccurate article.

  • User avater
    RuthMForbes | 12/05/2018

    I really like this mint flavor. Thanks for sharing this!

  • User avater
    WillieSFegley | 11/30/2018

    fresh and crisp flavor of peppermint.

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