MINT As each of us 9 kids left home, Mom gave us sprigs of her heirloom mint. I do the same with my children today. History does indeed repeat itself, in a very pleasant way!
Growing: Be forewarned about mint’s invasive habits. It makes a good container herb, since anywhere in the soil the stem touches, it will root. Mint grows well in sun or shade. Once it’s established, Mother Nature takes care of watering. No need to fertilize once the plant is up and growing.
Spearmint and peppermint are the most common, but we have many kinds of mint, including Thai, pineapple, chocolate, apple and Mojito mints.
Health benefits: Mint invigorates the senses, and both peppermint and spearmint aid digestion and reduce nausea. Peppermint is especially helpful after a high fat meal.
Cooking: Chop mint into your dishes right before you serve it. That way, you’ll get flavor, aroma and the most nutrition. Mint contains vitamin C, destroyed by high heat, so remember when making drinks with mint (steep in water that’s about 140 degrees – warm enough to infuse gently).
Easy Mint Jelly
2 generous cups fresh mint leaves, chopped and packed into cup
4 cups water
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 box powdered pectin
4 cups sugar
Green food coloring (opt)
Combine mint and water. Bring to a simmer, cover and let steep 15 minutes. Strain and measure out 3 cups infusion. Pour into large pan. Add lemon juice and pectin. Bring to a rapid boil. Add sugar all at once. On high heat, cook and stir constantly until it reaches a boil that cannot be stirred down with a spoon. Add food coloring. Cook for 1 minute. Remove any foam. Pour into hot, sterilized jars and seal with 2 piece lids which you have kept in boiling water. I like to process mine in a water bath for 5 minutes. Store in pantry up to a year. You can also skip the water bath process, turn the jars upside down after sealing for 5 minutes and that should kill any bacteria on the inside of the lid.