From Garden to Plate – Mint

Mint is one of those herbs that you may regularly buy and use but only in a limited capacity. Why not grow your own? It’s a cheaper alternative in the long run, grows relatively easily and, since you will have so much more than the supermarket alternative, you can experiment with different recipes.

To give you some ideas of how to tinker with your newly acquired crop of mint, I have included some recipes below.

Fresh mint Recipes

Courgette, Mint and Yogurt Spread

Serves 4

  • 1 large courgette, sliced lengthwise and cut into 1-inch half-moons
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 120g Greek yogurt or labneh
  • 2 tablespoons mint, roughly chopped
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • green olives for garnish (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium to high heat.
  2. Sprinkle the courgette slices with salt and pepper and add to the pan.
  3. Cook for about 5 minutes, turning once, until both sides are nicely browned. Remove from heat.
  4. Once the courgettes have cooled to room temperature, place in a food processor.
  5. Add mint and lemon zest (reserving a bit of both for garnish), a pinch of salt, pepper and yogurt. Pulse until pureed.
  6. Spread dip onto a serving plate, drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with reserved mint and lemon zest.
  7. Add olives if desired.

Serve with pita wedges or sliced vegetables and enjoy!

Simple Fresh Mint and Honey Sauce

  • Large handful of finely chopped Mint
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp white wine vinegar

Serve with roast lamb or roasted vegetables.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Makes 2.2 litres

  • About 75g fresh mint leaves
  • 490 ml milk
  • 470 ml cream
  • 200g sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 170g good quality dark chocolate

Method:

  1. Tear the mint leaves off their stems and put in a bowl. Pound with a pestle or large spoon just until they are bruised and give off their fragrance.
  2. Whisk the milk and half cream with the sugar and salt in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  3. Heat just until it begins to steam, then remove, add the mint leaves, and cover.
  4. Let it sit, covered for at least an hour, but if you can, leave it for 2 or 3 hours.
  5. After a couple hours strain out the mint leaves and bring back to just under a simmer.
  6. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl and add the rest of the cream.
  7. Whisk it all back into the saucepan and cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches 75C to 80C.
  8. Stir in the vanilla.
  9. Pour into a bowl, cover, and refrigerate overnight.
  10. Chop the chocolate into chunks and flakes. Set aside.
  11. Freeze the mixture the next day in your ice cream maker according to directions, adding the chocolate about halfway through.
  12. Transfer the ice cream to a bowl and cover with cling film under the lid, just touching the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming.
  13. Freeze for at least four hours before serving.

And if you, like me have more mint that you can use, you can dry them for later use. I use mine for Greek Salad …

There are 3 ways of drying Mint and other herbs. 

1, Air Dried. Just hang upside down in a warm spot in your house for 10 – 14 days.

2, Sun Dried. Spread mint out on a tea towel or cloth and lay flat in a sunny spot of your house/garden for 4-5 days.

3, Oven Dried. Spread mint out on baking tray, lined with parchment paper. Put it in the oven on the lowest setting. Make sure the mint doesn’t come in contact with the metal of the tray as this may cause the mint to turn brown/black. Turn every 10-15 mites to make sure it gets evenly dried out.

Note. Always make sure the mint is dried completely through and cool before putting it away, otherwise it may cause it to get mouldy after a while. We really don’t want that to happen, do we ?

Credit: Real Food

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