Mint is one of those workhorses of the garden. Once you plant it, your hardest job is keeping it from overtaking everything else in the yard and figuring out what to do with it all.
It grows easily in most of the country and robustly returns to even the coldest gardens every spring, where it grows happily until fall frosts. It even comes in different flavors, such as chocolate mint and pineapple mint.
You can also forage wild varieties of all sorts of mints.
What to do with all that mint?
If you find yourself with a bumper crop of mint, here are ways to continually make use of it:
- Boiled with sugar and water to make mint syrup to sweeten drinks
- As a garnish for summer drinks like lemonade
- In place of some or all of the basil in pesto
- As mulch around garden plants such as tomatoes and cabbage to repel a wide variety of insects (use the leaves only, never plant in the garden as it’s too invasive)
- Steeped with boiling water for fresh mint tea
- Chewed after meals for an instant breath freshener
- Added to green smoothies
- For mint iced tea — steep mint in boiling water with sugar or honey, then chill
- Chopped and tossed with roasted potatoes, olive oil and salt
- Frozen in ice cubes for a pretty drink presentation
- For mint juleps with simple syrup, muddled mint leaves and Kentucky whiskey
- For Cuban mojitos with a similar recipe and rum
- Added to salads
- In mint butter — pulse fresh leaves with butter in the food processor until combined, use in recipes or as a spread
- In cupboards and drawers to repel ants
- In a refreshing bath — put fresh or dried leaves in a drawstring bag or bundle some stems with rubber bands
- In chocolate mint sauce
- Dried or frozen (lay flat dry leaves on a cookie sheet, flash freeze and pack in containers) for later uses
- Added to the water used to steam vegetables
- Added to rice dishes (whole leaves) just before serving
- Blended with lemon juice, vinegar and a light oil for salad dressing
- Mixed with olive oil for a marinade for the grill
- In a variety of ethnic dishes from regions like Vietnam, India, Israel, Lebanon, Greece and Morocco
- As mouthwash — steep 4 TBS of chopped fresh mint leaves in 1 quart of boiling water, chill, then strain and keep in the refrigerator
- Added to soups and stews
- As a carpet cleaner — mix dried, crushed leaves with baking soda, sprinkle, let sit an hour and vacuum
- In mint jelly
- Simmered in homemade hot chocolate
- Chopped and added to salsa
- Used to make homemade mint ice cream
If you have another favorite way to use mint, please add it to the comments!