Is Mint a Spice or an Herb?

Mint is an herb that is used to flavor everything from gum to jelly. Like many other herbs, mint is easy to grow -- it will quickly take over a garden bed if you let it. Freeze the herb at the end of the growing season so you'll have mint over the winter.

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Like many other herbs, mint takes root easily.

Characteristics of Herbs

Herbs are the leaves of herbaceous (non-woody) plants. Fresh or dried herbs, such as basil, parsley, mint and oregano, are used in cooking. Some herbs, including mint, are available as an extract or oil.

Characteristics of Spices

Spices are derived from the flowers, roots, seeds, bark or fruits of herbaceous as well as woody plants. They may be ground into a powder or concentrated in an extract. Spices used in cooking and baking include cinnamon and nutmeg.

Uses for Mint

Use fresh or dried mint in savory applications, such as a mint sauce or pesto for lamb or seafood. Scatter a few leaves of fresh mint in the bottom of a tall glass and fill with sweetened iced tea for a cooling summer beverage, or steep a tablespoon of dried mint leaves in hot water for a cup of mint tea.

Preserving Mint

Harvest mint leaves from the top third of the plant, or harvest the entire plant if you're nearing the end of the growing season. Freeze the leaves to preserve their flavor and texture. Wash and dry the leaves and place them on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Freeze them overnight and place them in a sealable plastic bag. Pull out leaves as you need them for cooking.