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Experiment with Mint

How to Incorporate Mint Into Your Cooking

Here are 5 easy ways to incorporate this aromatic herb into your everyday cooking.

More than likely, you have contact with the refreshing fragrance and flavor of mint every day via your toothpaste and mouthwash. And while the green, fresh-tasting herb gets the job done for your teeth, it can awaken your senses in a whole new way when mixed in with food. Here are five ideas to try.

Types of Mint

The two most common types of mint are peppermint and spearmint.

Spearmint gives gum its refreshing flavor and is the most common type of mint used for cooking, as it can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Peppermint has subtle sweetness and is used to make candy canes and other desserts.

1. Bake it into cookies.

Holiday baking is in full effect this time of year and trying out a new cookie recipe for Santa is always a fun way to keep the season merry. Try adding in mint leaves to a batch of your favorite recipe, like the traditional sugar cookies you’ve been baking for years. Combine mint and sugar in a food processor until the mint is finely chopped, then incorporate it into the rest of your ingredients. From chocolate chip mint to lemon-ginger mint, the little herb can spruce up just about any warm cookie concoction.

2. Make a pesto.

Mint puts a fun spin on pesto, which typically uses herbs like basil. Chopped and processed with other ingredients into a paste, mint can add a cool burst of flavor to bowtie and angel hair pasta or act as a delicious garnish for chicken, fish, or lamb. Most mint pesto recipes simply call for almonds or pine nuts, fresh mint, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil, which is then combined in a food processor.

3. Add to hot water for tea.

If you’re lucky enough to have a garden with mint, or even a pot with a few lively sprigs, you can have mint tea any time you’d like. Just put a few fresh-picked sprigs of mint into the bottom of a teapot (about 1 tablespoon of leaves per each cup of tea) and pour hot water over the leaves. Let it settle for two to five minutes, strain out the mint, and sip from your favorite teacup.

4. Spruce up a fruit salad.

Mixing mint leaves into fruit salad adds a cool, refreshing kick to fruits and berries like grapes, blackberries, strawberries, and bananas. Chop up your fruit however you like, then drizzle on some orange juice, add sugar or honey, and mix in mint leaves. Let it sit for up to two hours so all the flavors can fuse together and then serve as a healthy dessert or at brunch.

5. Stir up a salsa.

A tomato mint salsa is perfect for pairing with meat like pork tenderloin or lamb, or you can go the traditional route and use it as a dip for tortilla chips. Mix fresh mint with onion, garlic, and diced tomatoes, then add in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and mix well. For an extra kick, roast the tomatoes and add in minced jalapeños.

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