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Using All That Mint

Submitted by: runningtrails on October 3, 2010
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Using All That Mint

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Do you like mint? I love it! Its one of my favorite flavors! I like mint tea, mint coffee, mint cookies, mint candies, mint ice cream – I love mint! I think this is a good thing, since mint spreads so rapidly that it soon becomes invasive.

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Do you like mint? I love it! Its one of my favorite flavors! I like mint tea, mint coffee, mint cookies, mint candies, mint ice cream – I love mint! I think this is a good thing, since mint spreads so rapidly that it soon becomes invasive.

We have it growing everywhere! It grows wild in the fields here. It is too invasive for an herb bed. It also likes growing in the water and can take over a pond, but I don’t consider it a weed. I like the smell that fills the air when I brush up against it. I would plant it if I didn’t already have so much growing wild. There’s a massive patch growing behind the chicken house in full sun. It does really well there with the chicken manure residue that finds it way through the soil.

I have a patch 4 ft wide and 3 ft tall growing out in the field, too. This year I am going to make mint wine. I think mint wine would be fabulous! A light bodied, soft mint flavor would be a good compliment to the wine taste, or made into a spritzer, cold on a hot summer day.

This is what I picked today behind the chicken house. I haven’t gotten to the stuff growing in the field yet. This will probably provide me with enough mint to make a gallon of wine, maybe. I am putting it in the freezer for now, so can always add to it later if I need to.

A lot of these leaves are too old. I only use the fresh, juicy, fairly new leaves and buds for consumption. After I pick those off, the older branches will hang under the porch to dry. I will use these dried older leaves for a scented, herbal bath mix, a potpourri mix, or on a scented herb grapevine wreath for outdoors in the fall.

After I have cut back the current growing mint stalks, the mint will continue to grow and put out more new growth for me to harvest again in about a month. This will either be dried for cooking or go into the freezer.

I set up a spot to work outdoors in the shade with a table so I can stand up straight and save my back. I want to fill a four liter ice cream bucket with leaves for making wine. The hose is on so that everything gets rinsed as its processed and I have a bottle of water for me.

You can also see Buck’s nose in the bottom right corner. He’s helping (sort of…). He’s always nearby when I’m outside, if not right in my face! He’s really quite good company most of the time, for a 6 month old HUGE puppy. It’s hard to put anything out of his reach. When he stands up he’s almost as tall as I am now. LOL! He likes to lay on the sofa but if he moves around much he falls off. He’s taller than the seat on all fours and can just slide off onto his feet. He is such a sweet and gentle boy, thank goodness!

This is what I managed to salvage from that bunch of mint cut earlier and a second bunch that size from the field. There’s lots more out there but this is all I am collecting today.

Next week, if I have time, I will collect more to make some mint tea. I did make a cup today. Mmmmmmm, delicious and so soothing!

I am also going to make some mint jelly this year. It’s very simple.

1 1/2 cups fresh mint leaves, packed
3 1/4 c. water
Green food coloring
1 box powdered pectin
4 c. sugar

Wash fresh mint leaves carefully and crush in water. Heat to a boil; cover and allow to steep for at least 10-15 minutes. Strain through double cheesecloth; measure 3 cups mint infusion (the boiled mint water). Add a few drops green food coloring to tint. Add pectin; bring to a boil. Add sugar; bring to a hard rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam with metal spoon. Pour at once into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space and seal. Boil jars for 10 minutes in water bath. Makes about six 1/2 pints.

I LOVE mint ice cream. This is a picture of the commercial mint choc chip ice cream that I have now but you can make your own.

For one pint, wash and dry one cup of leaves – we prefer peppermint – and discard stems. Using the back of a wooden spoon, crush leaves together with 1/2 cup sugar until the sugar resembles wet sand. Stir in one cup each of milk and heavy cream until sugar dissolves; refrigerate for 2 hours. Strain the mixture, discard solids, and freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Mint growing under a bee hive is suppose to help keep predator insects away. Don’t consider your wild mint a weed! Harvest and use it all. It’s great stuff!

Get the handy print page and save these recipes to your recipe box here:
Mint Jelly
Easy Mint Icecream


Sheryl blogs at Providence Acres.

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Comments

15 comments | RSS feed for comments of this post

  1. 10-3
    8:31
    am

    Great ideas all, Sheryl! I, too, love mints and have several varieties. So nice around the yard, especially when the lawn mower hits it!

  2. 10-3
    8:57
    am

    So,what kind of mint do you use? Your’s looks like our catnip, but it’s probally not that. We have spearmint growing around here, but it has a differant type of leaf. And yes it is VERY invasive, I have pulled out an awful lot of it. I did try to make mint jelly one time, it didn’t turn out well. I saved your recipe & will try to remember to give it a try next summer….after I try to find some peppermint next spring to plant under my bee hives ~ thanks for that tip, I hadn’t heard about that!
    Very intersting ~ Thanks

  3. 10-3
    11:12
    am

    Ditto to all the above comments. Also, I did not know that mint will grow in water! I shouldn’t be so surprised, though, because I did know it likes a drippy faucet. Thank you for all that information and recipes.

  4. 10-3
    11:31
    am

    I have plain, old regular mint, peppermint and lemon mint. The lemon mint makes great tea! I like mint coffee too.

  5. 10-3
    12:58
    pm

    Great ideas! I was thinking that all I could do was make Mint Juleps…..

  6. 10-3
    3:12
    pm

    I will be interested to see how you make your wine(seems like it should have more mint). I have made mint jelly and lemon balm jelly before but we never found anything to use it on. Spearmint mint tea is very soothing and calming(to me anyway) and peppermint tea is great if you have a cough but too much of it leads to diarrhea. Dislike mint ice cream with a passion, lol.

  7. 10-3
    5:31
    pm

    Good tip on the peppermint, Becky! I like peppermint tea and sometimes drink quite a lot of it. Isn’t it interesting how each persons’s taste are as individual as they are? I absolutely LOVE mint ice cream, mint cookies, mint fudge, mint candy, mint…

    I only make one gallon of wine at a time. I usually use a pressed gallon of leaves or petals to make a gallon of wine, or a gallon of juice if using fruit.

    If you are really interested in how to make wine, contact me. I have just recently finished an e-book on “Making Organic Wine At Home” but don’t want to sell it here.

  8. 10-4
    4:44
    pm

    Now making wine one gallon at a time does sound interesting to me.
    Suzanne, I have eaten lamb just once in my life. Not bad but didn’t have any mint jelly, lol. Just not something we see in the stores here very often.

  9. 6-23
    6:11
    pm

    I love mint,and it’s trying to take over my yard. I just made a gallon of mint/sun tea and that’s as wonderful as I expected it would be.

    But after that, and jelly, and drying it for winter blah fighting tea, I had no ideas.

    Thanks!

    Judi

  10. 10-11
    2:15
    pm

    Here is another idea…mix it in with raw/creamed honey and let it infuse for a couple of weeks. If you wish to strain it, heat it up very slightly, just enough that it can go through a strainer, and strain out the large pieces. This was my biggest seller for honey flavors when I made flavored honeys, and it was very attractive with its green flecks suspended in the honey jar. You can put it on toast, on ice cream, as a fruit dip, in baking, in your bath or whatever other creative thing you might think of. Enjoy!

  11. 10-11
    2:19
    pm

    Sheryl, can you pm me and let me know how to go about putting an ebook together and how & where to sell it?

  12. 10-11
    4:02
    pm

    Great idea with the mint honey!! I would LOVE to have our own honey!!

  13. 10-11
    4:08
    pm

    I can’t find a way to PM you or a way to email you either. Neither options seem to be anywhere in your info. I have send a friend request, thinking those options might only be available for friends?

    You can send me an email directly at
    providenceacres at hotmail.com.

  14. 10-16
    2:30
    pm

    I will email you. I am sorry, I was subscribed to this under a different email address and so wasn’t getting updated.

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