Inside the Spice Cabinet: Mint

Inside the Spice Cabinet: Mint

Kelli Foster
Oct 1, 2016
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy )

Now mint is a truly interesting herb, but it's so common that you might not think so. Just think about what a strong distinct flavor it has, and then think about all the dozens and dozens of dishes in which mint is perfectly at home.

What Is Mint?

Taste: Sweet
Most Popular Use: Fruit, vegetables, beverages, meat

There are two main kinds of mint that we use for culinary purposes: spearmint and peppermint. Both have squared-off stems with bright green, spear-shaped leaves. Peppermint has a sharper flavor and more intense aroma, while spearmint tends to be more delicate and sweet. They grow everywhere and in a wide variety of climates, which is why the herb is found in so many world cuisines.

Peppermint also contains the chemical menthol. This chemical affects the nerve endings in our mouths and makes our brains think the mouth is cooler than it really is. This is why minty beverages are great to sip while eating spicy foods.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know About Growing Mint

How To Use Mint

Spearmint and peppermint can be used interchangeably, in sweet and savory recipes, alike. It pairs well in everything from savory dishes with roasted meats and rich sauces, to lighter dishes, like simple vegetable side dishes, beverages like yogurt lassis and tea, and desserts.

Mint also has a number classic pairings. It is fantastic as a rub or in a sauce for lamb, and it pairs perfectly with fresh peas and new potatoes. Mint is found in Indian chutneys and Greek yogurt-cucumber tzatziki. And of course, mint and chocolate make the best of friends in the dessert realm.

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