Fresh mint is available all year long, and grows abundantly in the warm summer months. Mint not only smells great and adds lots of flavor, but it also has a few health benefits. It is widely used in toothpaste, medicines, antibacterials (for infections), shampoos and more. It can also be taken to treat an upset stomach or help with heartburn.

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Mint

Peppermint and spearmint have been growing in the U.S. for generations. Here are some more interesting varieties and facts about mint:

Peppermint

  • Peppermint is one of the oldest and best tasting home remedies for indigestion.
  • Essential oil of peppermint stops the growth of many different bacteria. It has been found to inhibit the growth of certain types of fungus as well.
  • Peppermint contains the substance rosmarinic acid, which has been known to be beneficial for asthma sufferers. Extracts of peppermint have also been shown to help relieve the nasal symptoms of a cold.
  • In 2013, the U.S. harvested 68,800 acres of peppermint.

Spearmint

  • Known to be very useful in dealing with digestive problems, including nausea, flatulence and hiccups as it relaxes the stomach muscles.
  • Mint juice is great when used as a face mask. In addition to skin care, infections, rashes, acne and mosquito bites can also be treated with spearmint.
  • It helps with your oral health. Mint has the ability to override germs and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria in the mouth, so your mouth and breath stays fresh with routine use.
  • You can also take advantage of using warm mint to freshen up your leg muscles and relieve muscle pains.
  • In 2013, the U.S. harvested 24,500 acres of spearmint.
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Mint Varieties

  • Sweet Mint – Sweet mint is grown from cuttings of an Israeli variety, where mint is used in many dishes from lamb to yogurt sauce. It has a rich spearmint flavor. This plant can tends to spread, so many people choose to grow it in a pot. Keep the leaves pinched to encourage tender new leaves.
  • Chocolate Mint – Chocolate mint leaves have a minty chocolate flavor, much like the classic Thin Mints Girl Scout cookie. Their stems tend to run rampantly over – and under – soil, so it’s best to tuck chocolate mint into a pot to control its wandering ways. Chocolate mint thrives alongside water gardens or in damp spots in the yard. Crush fresh leaves into a glass of ice water for a refreshing beverage, or add them to tea or coffee. You can also dry leaves for flavoring desserts like ice cream, meringues, quick breads or cakes. Pick leaves frequently.
  • Orange Mint – This variety of mint is perfect for summer drinks and fruit salads. The citrus flavor is a bright alternative to traditional mint and works well in salads. Oils from orange mint is commonly used in perfumes and soaps for its aromatic properties and is typically available in the summer months.

 

Fresh Fruit with Honey Lime Mint Dressing

Related Recipes:

Lamb Chops with Berry Mint Sauce
Parsley Mint Pesto
Green Pea Soup with Fresh Mint
Cantaloupe Salad
Peppermint Fudge

Sources: USDA Library, Bonnie Plants

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