(If you ignore the state of my legs, I promise to spare you the boring saga of the systemic, not-going-away poison ivy that is plaguing my body this summer. Deal? Good! It's a very boring tale.)
Steve and I often threaten that we should just go with what grows well here, harvest that, and give up on everything else. Ride the horse in the direction it's going, so to speak. That would be thistle, stinging nettle, burdock, and I do think we could add mint to the list. (And maybe poison ivy?) The mint is everywhere! Both peppermint and spearmint grow in great patches in nearly every pasture here. I've added some chocolate mint, but have been quite mindful of putting it in containers so it doesn't take over. Thank goodness we love all things minty. And right now, we are regularly picking, drying, mixing, and freezing all that minty goodness for use throughout the year.
Some of the things we are enjoying....
Mint to be dried for tea! And with three gallon jars full now, I dare say we have enough to last many of us all the way through winter (and then some). Usually I just clean the herbs, bunch and hang them to dry, then pull the leaves off and store in glass jars. But sometimes I'll use my food drying rack (I have this one) for a day in the sun.
Mint simple sryup. I make mine by combining in a saucepan equal parts water, sugar, and mint leaves (though I'm not very precise with measuring the mint - more is usually better). Cook over medium until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until it's at room temperature. I then strain the syrup through a cheesecloth and pour into jars for storing in the refrigerator for a few weeks. I've also been pouring them into ice cube trays, freezing, and storing those cubes in the freezer....dreaming of wintry minty goodness too. And then those cubes, or a bit of the refrigerated syrup goes in all manner of good things - mint juleps, mojitos, and mint "soda" too. Yum.
And of course, mint ice cream. I can't stop making it, which not a single person is complaining about of course. It's just so good. (I use the recipe in The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz). With a little bit of raspberry compote drizzled on the top? Delightful. And just the right thing to end a long summer's day with.
And you? What are you doing with all of your mint?