You can get a sampler of mints from
Native to the Mediterranean and popular in western sweets like ice cream and chocolate, mint is a staple in savory dishes as well: that famous English dish, roast lamb with mint sauce and buttered peas (a modern version is lamb stir-fry with mint (add some rosemary, too) and meat and vegetable dishes of Greek and Middle Eastern cuisines.
Mint also migrated east to become a basic ingredient in the meat and vegetables dishes of the Pacific Rim. The aromatic herb has a sweet flavor with a cool, refreshing aftertaste. Try adding a bit to tzatziki and raita.
A few sprigs will enliven a green salad, a beet salad or spicy arugula. Mint mixes well with basil and tomatoes too. It’s an ingredient in tabouli—bulgur wheat, parsley, mint and tomatoes. And it’s so refreshing in iced or hot tea or mineral water.
Mint is a cocktail essential (no mint, no Mojito). We freeze leaves of mint in ice cube trays to add “mint ice” to sparkling water, iced tea and juice.
There are numerous varieties of mint. Common types in the U.S. include apple mint, chocolate mint, ginger mint, orange mint, pineapple mint and the most famous duo, spearmint and peppermint. Each adds its own nuances to dishes. Start with a pot of spearmint. It’s what stores typically sell as “mint.”
Any of the three makes a delicious cup of mint tea.
Mint grows quickly. A pot in your window will encourage you to make the recipes we’ve listed more frequently; and you may become addicted to the fresh mint tea recipe, below.
RECIPE: Mint Tea
Mint tea is the unofficial national drink of Morocco. Wherever you go, from shops to homes, you’ll be offered a glass of hot mint tea—green tea steeped with mint. While it is traditionally sweetened, it’s deliciously refreshing with no added sweeteners. Make yourself a cup:
2. Garnish with a mint sprig. While it’s not part of Moroccan mint tea, you can add a squeeze of lemon or lime.
If you are preparing multiple portions, add the bunch of mint to a teapot.
For iced mint tea: Let the tea cool to room temperature, transfer to a covered pitcher or bottle and chill. Serve in a tall glass over ice, garnished with a fresh mint sprig.
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