A mint or mentha is one of the fifteen to twenty variants of the Lamiaceae family. They include other well-known plant species like peppermint, spearmint, wild mint, apple mint, water mint, and pennyroyal to name a few. Fresh or dry mint is also one of the popular herbs that are commonly used in cooking, as well as in beverage fusions. Fresh mints have a distinct taste and aroma. This is precisely why mint oil is widely used by many manufacturers of candy, gums, chocolates, toothpaste, shampoos, and other beauty products.
In cooking, fresh mints give more flavour to a dish. It also helps control and reduces your craving for sodium and sugar consumption. Studies also show that excessive intake of some mint species may trigger some risks and health problems, so as long as it is used in moderation, you have nothing to worry about. Mint extracts or oils are usually a combination of peppermint and spearmint.
However, if you are using fresh mints and you are after a savoury kick for your dish, you should use spearmint (Mentha Spicata) which contains less than 1% menthol. On the other hand, if you are looking for acidity and citrus flavours, you should go with peppermints (Mentha Piperita), which contain 40% menthol.
In Indian cuisine, known for their dominance in using herbs and spices for their dishes, fresh mints or pudina (Mentha Arvensis in scientific terms), or “field mint” is also a widely used herb. They normally use Pahari pudina (spearmint) for chutneys, relishes, salads, sauces, and teas. On the other hand, vilayet pudina (peppermint) with its higher content of menthol is more commonly used for flavouring in confectionery items, ice creams, teas, and other products.
A serving of 3.2 grams of fresh mint provides:
- 2.24 Calories
- 0.12 g of Protein
- 0.48 g of Carbohydrates
- 0.03 g of Fat
- 0.26 g of Fibre
Mint also contains trace amounts of:
Potassium, Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus, Vitamin C, Iron, and Vitamin A
Mint Leaves Uses and Benefits
- They are rich in nutritional content that greatly impacts one’s health.
- They are helpful with digestion and are a natural remedy for bowel problems, and relieve indigestion, and other gastrointestinal problems.
- They are great at dismissing symptoms of a cold.
- They provide a refreshing taste that can make your mouth feel clean and helps conceal bad breaths.
To fully utilize the benefits of fresh mint, it is most commonly used in making tea. The reason for that is because drinking fresh mint tea is the most potent method to tincture its quality components. Here are fresh mint tea benefits that you should know about.
- It is useful in addressing bad breath, smoking addiction, chest congestion, hangover, migraine, and headaches.
- It has many benefits for countering food poisoning, bloating, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, flatulence, nausea, gastroparesis, Leaky Gut Syndrome, and indigestion.
Must-Try Fresh Mint Recipes
Let’s start with the basic, this is how you can easily prepare your fresh mint tea, you only need the following:
- 2 cups filtered water
- 15 fresh mint leaves
- 1 to 2 teaspoons sugar (or honey), optional
- 1 cup ice, optional
- Lemon slices, optional
- Fresh lemon juice, optional
You can easily notice that a lot of the ingredients here are optional because they are only subject to your preference. Making a great fresh mint tea only requires drinkable water and fresh mints.
- Boil water under medium-high heat.
- Once done, remove from heat and add the fresh mint leaves.
- Steep for 5 minutes or less depending on your preferred strength. (We recommend steeping for only 3 minutes to prevent too much acidity when consumed.)
- Add sweeteners like honey or sugar, according to taste.
- You can serve it hot or iced with lemon slices and a hint of lemon juice.
Here are more recipes that you can enjoy with fresh mint:
- Fresh Mint and Ginger Lemonade
- Fresh Mint Mojito Cocktail
- Fresh Mint Iced Coffee
- Fresh Mint Chocolate Shake
- Fresh Mint Stracciatella Semifreddo
- Chocolate-Mint Pudding
- Fresh Mint Chocolate Bars
- Raspberry Mint Brownies