Credit: Carolyn Herriot


There are many varieties of mint to grow, ranging from fruity (pineapple, ginger and apple mint), to fragrant (lavender, chocolate and basil mint), to savory (spearmint and peppermint). Because mints are notoriously invasive in the garden I grow them in planters placed outside the kitchen door, easily accessible for snipping. I always throw a sprig of spearmint (photo) or peppermint into the pot when cooking new potatoes.

You can make delicious tea blends by combining different varieties of mint. Try steeping fresh sprigs of chocolate and lavender mint, or ginger and apple mint together for delightful summer tea drinks. In winter we can enjoy the same using dried mints.

To dry, harvest mint on a sunny day, after the dew has dried from the leaves, when the flavour is at its peak. Pick young fresh shoots about six inches (15 cm) long and tie them together in small bunches. To capture the essential oils put them inside a paper bag, and hang it in a warm, dark place with good air circulation. After a few days, the dried herbs should be ready to store in airtight jars in a dark place, which prevents deterioration from light. TIP: Herbs will lose flavour over time, so replenish them annually.

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