Mint - How to Cook and Grow

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In recent years mint has become a bit of a favourite of mine, I love to use it in both sweet and savoury preparations and a pot of Moroccan mint tea has become something of an addiction. Another herb, which is steeped in ancient history and renowned for its medicinal qualities as an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-parasitic, mint is featured in so many different guises that we almost forget that it is a herb as opposed to a breath freshener or choc ice.


How to Grow

There are scores of varieties of mint to choose from; common or garden, spearmint, Moroccan, peppermint, winter mint, ginger mint, eau de cologne mint and basil mint to name but a few. The key to successful mint growing is not how to sow it but how to contain it. Left to its own devices and it will run riot in the garden, which is why I always grow mint in large containers, which not only controls the spread but also prolongs the growing season. Keep the compost moist and place the plant in a semi-shaded area.

How to Cook

A handful of freshly chopped mint added to a Moroccan meat tagine or an Italian salsa verde lifts these wonderful dishes to new heights adding a distinct freshness to compliment the heady spices. For all of the varieties at our disposal I still prefer to stick to common and Moroccan mint simply because they are a good all rounder although try finding common mint at your local garden centre, my local ones sell every cross-bred ones imaginable, but common? -Who wants that?! We all know about mint sauce with roast lamb (donít mention it to the French) but it also makes an excellent jelly for hot or cold meats and a few sprigs on some buttered Jersey royals is a real summer treat. Try a few finely shredded leaves as a last minute addition to a stock syrup for a fruit salad or mixed into a bowl of fresh strawberries together with the turn of a pepper mill.

Content and picture © Miles Collins