Mint in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Mint is the dried leaf of a perennial herb.
Spearmint and peppermint are the most common mint varieties used in cooking. They offer a sweetly clean, refreshing taste to foods. Peppermint is more often used for candies and teas while spearmint complements savory dishes like lamb, peas and other vegetables as well as fruits and chocolate. Mint is common to Middle Eastern cooking. Try snipping the leaves into fruit salads and rice pilaf or adding to a marinade for chicken. The classic mint julep is a refreshing bourbon cocktail but you might consider adding mint to punches, iced tea and milk shakes too. The fresh leaves make an attractive garnish to just about any dish.
Mint is strong and sweet with a tangy flavor and a cool after taste.
Most mints are native to Europe and Asia, although there are some which are indigenous to the America’s and Australia. Many think that the colonists introduced mint to the USA however there is evidence that Native American Indians were using a form of mint well before their arrival.
Mint was used by the ancient Assyrians in rituals to their fire god. The ancient Hebrews scattered mint leaves on the synagogue floor so that each footstep would produce a fragrant whiff. Spearmint was used by the ancient Greeks and Romans as a flavoring herb, culinary condiment, and in perfumes and bath scents. Mint was named by the Greeks after the mythical character, Menthe. During the Middle Ages, besides culinary use, powdered mint leaves were used to whiten the teeth.