The Mighty Mint Leaf

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Mighty Mint LeafFive ways to use the versatile herb

Have a garden overflowing with mint? Then consider yourself lucky. The herb can be used in a variety of ways and packs in numerous health benefits, including aiding digestion and boosting the immune system. Another benefit of the aromatic herb is that incorporating fresh leaves is easy, as it goes well in salads, drinks and desserts. Here are just a few ways to make mint a staple of your springtime menu.

Mint-Berry Lemonade

Juice six lemons to make one cup of juice. In a gallon pitcher, combine the lemon juice, one cup of sugar and six cups of cold water.

Add in one cup of raspberries (can adjust based on taste) and ½ cup of whole mint leaves. Stir. Add water and ice to taste.

Other fresh or frozen fruit, such as mangos, pineapples, peaches and/or strawberries can also be added in.

Spring Salad

Mix one large bag of spinach, ½ cup of mint leaves (chopped or halved), two cups of fresh strawberries or raspberries and one cup of chopped walnuts. Top with raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Mint Julep

(Photo by Jazz Guy via Flickr)

Place 10 mint leaves in the bottom of an old-fashioned glass and top with 1 ½ teaspoons superfine sugar. Muddle together until leaves begin to break down. Add a splash of seltzer water, fill glass ¾ full with crushed ice and add 2 ½ ounces Kentucky bourbon whiskey. Top with another splash of seltzer, stir and garnish with a sprig of mint.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown, www.foodnetwork.com.

 

Mint Butter

Cut one stick of unsalted butter into small pieces. Melt in small saucepan with ½ cup fresh mint, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Heat until just bubbling around edges.
Pairs deliciously drizzled over asparagus as well as with lamb dishes.

Chocolate-Covered Mint Leaves

Freeze mint leaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Melt chocolate: bring about 1½ cups of water to a boil and then remove pan from heat. Place a glass bowl directly over the water, with the rim resting on the edge of the pan and bottom of bowl not touching bottom of pan. Add about ½ cup of chopped chocolate to glass bowl and stir until melted. Do not melt chocolate in microwave.

Dip frozen mint leaves in chocolate. Place on parchment tray and let dry or refreeze again for at least 30 minutes.

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