Mint

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 12. Jun. 2020

Mint is beautiful, delicious and healthy. While this herb is especially popular in summer, mint definitely deserves a place in the kitchen year round.

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Mint...

  • ...has a gentle stimulating effect. Mint’s high menthol content can gently help a weakened circulation get going, and just a sniff of fresh mint or mint oil can even make tired people feel more lively.
  • ...soothes the stomach. Mint can help calm stomach problems, from abdominal cramps to flatulence. The menthol and other ingredients also have a slightly anesthetic effect on the stomach lining, which can help alleviate nausea and vomiting.
  • ...contains valuable menthol. Real mint gets its typical strong scent and taste from the essential oil menthol, which tastes delicious in food and is good for the body.
  • ...can help soothe cold symptoms. Mint has long been used in Japanese naturopathy to help treat cold symptoms such as colds and coughs.
  • ...can help with breathing problems. A tea made from mint with honey is a classic household remedy to help soothe coughs or wheezing.
  • ...promotes digestion. Mint is one of the classics in naturopathy when it comes to improving bile production. Mint also has a generally relaxing and antispasmodic effect on the digestive tract.
  • ...can irritate the stomach in large quantities. Because menthol is so powerful, don’t overdo it when it comes to mint consumption. Eating too much mint or drinking too much mint tea can irritate the stomach lining and even lead to nausea.

What You Should Know About Mint

Mint's high content of the essential oil menthol has long made it a natural remedy for everything from colds to stomach cramps. However the herb's pungent, fresh flavor also makes it a delicious cooking ingredient, especially in Asian dishes.  

Origin

Mint has been consumed from as far back as ancient Rome. 

Season

Fresh mint is available year round.

Varieties

Around the globe, there are around 20 different types of mint, which differ in appearance and flavor. Here are the most prominent varities:

Strawberry Mint: Like lavender, lime or ginger mint, this variety belongs to the mild, so-called noble mint variety. These kinds of mint contain very little menthol and have a fruity flavor all their own. As the name suggests, the curled leaves of strawberry mint taste and smell like fresh berries. To preserve the aroma, they are not heated, but finely chopped and added to curd cheese dishes, fruit salads or fruit sauces and cocktails.

Curly Mint: These extremely curly leaves contain a lot of menthol and have a taste reminiscent of caraway and camphor. Curly mint is used for tea, essential oils or for strong meat dishes such as roast lamb or couscous.

Moroccan Mint: These green, slightly-curled leaves are preferred in Arabic countries where they are often used to make refreshing teas, This variety has a high menthol content, which makes it particularly aromatic. Moroccan mint is also often utilized to make mojitos, the classic Cuban cocktail. 

English Peppermint: This very strong, aromatic variety is the best known and, with its high menthol content, also the most popular throughout the world. The smooth green leaves with reddish veins are ideal for cooking in both cold and warm dishes.

Our Favorite Recipes With Mint

Find all our mint recipes here.

How Healthy is Mint?

Mint is rightly regarded as a medicinal herb, especially when it comes to the stomach and intestines. Both the abundant bitter and tanning substances contained in mint and the high content of the essential oil menthol have been proven to have an antispasmodic, calming and pain-relieving effect. This applies to both internal and external use. 

Mint tea is also effective in easing nausea and stomach issues such as cramps and flatulance. However, the effect can be reversed if you drink too much of it. More than two to three cups of mint tea a day can irritate the stomach lining and lead to nausea.

MINT NUTRITIONAL INFO (100 g)  
Calories 50
Protein 3.8 g
Fat 0.7 g
Carbohydrates 5.3 g
Fiber 3 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

Fresh mint is available in most grocery stores either loose or pre-packaged in the produce department. 

Storage

Fresh mint should be consumed as quickly as possible, as its menthol content can evaporate quickly, leading to decreased flavor and limp leaves. The best way to ensure your mint stays as fresh as possible is to pack it loosely in a plastic bag and store it in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator. Stored this way, it should stay fresh for a few days. 

Preparation

As with other fresh herbs, the first step with mint is to rinse and then shake dry. Then you have to pluck the leaves from the stems and, depending on the recipe, cut or chop them into strips or a mince.

What To Make With Mint

Across the world, mint is used in everything from desserts like fruit salads to savory dishes like the Vietnamese bahn mi, to cocktails like the classic mojito. Mint is also a staple in many classic dishes across Asia, including chutneys and curries. In Middle Eastern cuisine, mint adds fantastic flavor to delicious traditional sides like tabouleh and dips like tzatziki.  

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