Do you crave fresh, clean flavors for Spring? Turn to mint, the tried and true taste of Spring! Mint can be added to a wide variety of dessert recipes, from a light and delicate sorbet to a rich and decadent cheesecake.
Keep reading to find out why mint is not only good, but good for you and learn tricks for using, preparing, and storing mint. Then, sample some classic mint dessert favorites or try something new!
Why Mint Is So Good For You:
Mint has the power to protect you from cancer. Peppermint oil is full of monoterpene, a phytonutrient that has been proven to stop tumors in the liver, breast, and pancreas from growing. Peppermint oil can also stop the formation of cancer in the lungs, colon, and skin.
Mint can calm your upset stomach. Over and over again peppermint oil has been shown to soothe a variety of digestive issues related to irritable bowel syndrome, such as muscle spasms in the colon and indigestion. Researchers speculate that this is due to the muscle relaxing qualities of peppermint oil.
Essential oils in peppermint can kill bacteria. These essential oils are able to stop the growth of many dangerous bacteria, such as Salmonella enteritidis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Peppermint oil is also effective in stopping the growth of specific fungus.
Mint eases nasal congestion and fights against asthma. Rosmarinic acid, found in peppermint, reduces inflammation to soothe the symptoms of asthma. It also triggers cells to create substances that open up the airways. Peppermint extracts are commonly used to clear out nasal congestions as well.
Mint is packed with vitamin C. While peppermint is full of manganese and copper, its most vital nutrient is vitamin C. Vitamin C lowers the levels of dangerous free radicals within the body and protects against the development of colon cancer.
Baking With Mint:
Always gently rinse and air dry mint sprigs before using them in your favorite recipes or preserving them for later use.
If you are going to use your mint sprigs within a few days of picking or buying them, you can store them in the fridge or on the counter.
To store your mint in the fridge, wrap it in damp paper towels and then place the bundle in a plastic zip top bag. Leave the bag open and set it in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. If you would like to keep your mint sprigs on the counter, simply place them in a jar or pitcher of water, like you would do to a bouquet of flowers. The mint will stay fresh for approximately 48 hours or a little bit longer if you keep the jar of mint in the refrigerator.
Remember dried mint has a more intense flavor than fresh mint. If you decide to replace dried mint with fresh in a recipe, try using a 2:1 ratio of fresh mint to dry. After sampling the recipe, adjust the amount of fresh mint to suit your taste. When trying to decide between using peppermint or spearmint, keep in mind that the flavor of peppermint is a bit stronger and the flavor of spearmint is a bit cooler.
If you would like to preserve your sprigs of mint for future use, you have a few options: drying, making an extract, or freezing. When drying your own mint sprigs, you can air dry, dehydrate, or dry them in the microwave. If you choose to dry your mint in the microwave, be sure to do it in a well-ventilated area, preferably one with two open windows and a cross-breeze, as the aroma can quickly become quite overwhelming.
Make your own mint extract by finely chopping your mint and adding it to a jar or bottle filled with Vodka or another grain alcohol. A good ratio for mint extract made with fresh mint is 1 part mint to 3 parts alcohol.
Store your fresh mint in the freezer. Place 1 tsp finely chopped mint in each segment of an ice cube tray. Fill each segment with water and then freeze. When you are ready to use the fresh mint in your recipes, simply pop out a cube, let it come to room temperature and discard the water.
Mint Dessert Recipes:
Pies, Tarts, and Custards: