Fresh mint is so easy to grow that, before you know it, you may soon have more mint than you know what to do with. Don't let the mint go to waste, as mint leaves are used a number of different ways. Don't be afraid to experiment. You may find a brand new purpose for this refreshing herb.
Hot mint tea is a refreshing brew that may even settle your stomach after a large meal. To make mint tea, place a spoonful of mint in a tea pot for every cup of tea. Add boiling water and allow the tea to steep. For a strong brew, steep the tea up to 10 minutes. Experiment to find the brew you like best. Pour the tea through a strainer and serve. For iced mint tea, chill the tea, then add ice cubes.
To make a southern-style mint julep, place four to five fresh mint leaves in a cocktail glass. Add a spoonful of water and a spoonful of sugar over the top of the leaves, then mash the ingredients together with the back of a teaspoon -- so the flavor of the mint leaves is released and the sugar is dissolved. Top the mixture with 2 oz. of bourbon and serve with crushed ice.
Homemade mint mouthwash costs only pennies and leaves your breath as fresh as an expensive commercial mouthwash. Chop fresh mint leaves to make about 4 tbsp., then pour a qt. of boiling water over the leaves. Allow the mouthwash to cool slightly, then chill the mouthwash in the refrigerator. Strain the chilled mouthwash and store it in the refrigerator.
In the Kitchen
Chop a few mint leaves, stir them into a small amount of olive oil, then use the mixture to marinade fresh fish. Add mint leaves to the water when you steam vegetables. Mince mint leaves finely and stir the leaves into melted butter, then pour the butter over boiled new potatoes or hot peas. To make a minty salad dressing, combine chopped mint leaves with vinegar, lemon juice and your favorite oil and shake well. Stir a few chopped mint leaves into fresh yogurt, then eat the yogurt as is, or serve the mint yogurt with grilled meat.