Mint has an incomparable flavour, so it makes sense that people have been cooking with it for millennia. As with any flavour-intensive ingredient, mint can be used in many recipes but should be used carefully so that it is not overpowering. Here are a few tips for cooking with mint.
Mint is an incredibly versatile spice. It can be used in raw and cooked dishes as well as savoury or sweet foods. It is also a refreshing ingredient in drinks. Many cocktails use mint as the main ingredient and you can also make excellent tea with it.
Different types of mint
There are several different kinds of mint. The most commonly used types of mint spearmint and peppermint. Both offer a familiar taste, but the flavours are dramatically different. Spearmint is milder and is therefore used mainly in salads or in cocktails (like mojitos). Peppermint contains a lot of menthol, which is why it has a more intense flavour. You can use peppermint to make a delicious tea that could also aid digestion.
Never use peppermint as a 1: 1 substitute for spearmint
Peppermint can be used as a substitute for spearmint, but given its stronger flavour, your recipe should be adjusted accordingly. Use much less than the recipe calls for and add more to taste.
There are many different ways to store mint. The easiest way is to keep fresh mint in the fridge. Place the mint stems upright in a container of water in the refrigerator.
You can dry mint by hanging it, using a dehydrator, or even drying it in your oven.
Fresh mint can also be frozen. This has the advantage that the flavours do not change, as is the case when drying. Add mint to ice cubes and freeze them for extra flavour!
More than just a tea
Enjoy mint in tea, or sprinkle it over fruit salad or use it as an ingredient for other drinks.
Proper preparation for cocktails
When preparing mint for cocktails, it is best to use a pestle. This crushes the leaves, but not too much. If you overdo it crushing the leaves, the cocktail tastes bitter because the chlorophyll contained in the leaves is released when they are crushed. In addition, you should always crush the mint leaves directly in the glass you are drinking from, otherwise, you lose some of their flavours when transferring them.