So Many Things to Do with Summer Mint
Mint in Arabic is called naana. There is nothing quiet as refreshing as fresh mint leaves. They are crisp and bursting with summer flavors. Both fresh and dried mint are used heavily in Arab cooking especially in the Levantine cuisine.
Mint is a perennial aromatic herb with various species and hybrids. Native to the eastern Mediterranean, mint gets its name from a mythic nymph named Minthe (Mintho).
Its so easy to grow mint, in fact if you let it, it will take over your garden. Exactly the reason on why I am sharing this post. If you grow mint its probably exploding in your garden at this point to the point that you feel guilty for not using it!!
So I made it my mission to gather ways for you to make the best out of this refreshing and generous herb. It has a cooling affect on the tongue. The fresh leaves have the most flavor and scent, but dried mint is equally important in Arab and Middle Eastern cooking. In fact growing up in the spring and summer my grandmother would lay a large clean sheet (most often a clean bed sheet) on a flat surface and then lay the clean fresh mint leaves to dry away from direct sunlight so the leaves can stay vibrant green. Dried mint is essential and used as an ingredient in some of the Levant dishes.
Mint is used in both sweet and savory applications although in the Arab world its used more often in savory applications. Its used heavily and liberally in salads, in stews and especially in lamb and yogurt dishes. And to make this post more fun I had asked some of friends in the food community to share their favorite mint recipes, from drinks, main dishes, to salads and desserts. And also ways to dry and preserve this herb so you can enjoy it all year long. So many ways to use this refreshing herb from drinks, to savory and sweet applications. You are in for a treat make sure you check out the recipes below.
Simple ways to preserve mint:
check out the link below on how to dry mint and other herbs as well.
other ways to dry mint
Its best to dry your own mint as the dried variety in the spice aisles at supermarkets often lack the flavor you need to achieve certain dishes. Follow the link above to see how easy it is to dry your own.
Mint salt is perfect sprinkled over watermelon, tomatoes salad, yogurt or Labaneh dip etc ..
to make this:
1/2 cup of salt
one cup packed fresh mint leaves (no stems)
Process together in the food processor until color and mint is distributed throughout the salt. The salt will be slightly wet at this point. Spread the salt on a cookie sheet in a single layer and let it dry for a couple of hours. Store in a air tight glass jar.
Mint sugar can be used to sprinkle on cookies, muffins or sweet breads. You can use it to sweeten tea or to sprinkle on fruits.
To make this:
blend 1/2 cup of sugar with around 1 packed cup of mint leaves (no stems) in a food processor. Use right away, or for longer storage, spread in a single layer on a cookie 1sheet and let air dry overnight. Store in a air tight glass jar.
Mint simple syrup
This syrup is perfect to sweeten your drinks from lemonade, ice tea, mojitos or to hot tea:
To make this:
1 cup sugar
1 cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup water
Dissolve the sugar in the water on medium heat. Add the mint and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes. Strain the syrup into a sterile glass jar. It will keep for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.
A mint infusion or mint extract:
You can infuse vodka or white rum with mint.
Take a handful of fresh rinsed and towel dried mint ( a cup or a up and a half), give it a gentle crush with your hands to release some of the natural oils. mix with a cup or two of your choice of spirit, give it a shake and store in a tightly sealed jar in a cool, dry spot. after few weeks check the infusion for desired potency and when it’s ready, just strain and store either at room temperature or in the fridge.
Mint extract is so perfect for mojitos, and other drinks.
Round up of my favorite recipes using mint:
Thank you so much to all my friends that contributed to this minty post.
Mint tea :
One of my favorite hot drinks of all times especially in the summer when fresh mint is widely available and so delicious. I love sipping on this after dinner every night in the summer when mint grows like crazy in my garden
Use 5-10 big leaves or more depending on how strong you want it. I use about 3 sprigs. Pour very hot (not boiling) water over the leaves and let steep 5-10 minutes. You can remove the leaves, I leave them in and eat them as I drink the tea :)
So you can Either brew the mint leaves by themselves or add them to an herbal blend, black or green tea.
Blackberry Mojito by Two purple figs
Mint Masala Chai by Bina @abitwholesomely
Watermelon mint Slush by Leigh @mydiaryofus
Mint Lemonade by Abeer Najar
Salads and appetizers:
Yemeni Shufoot by Amjaad Al- Hussain
Zucchini mutabal with yogurt and mint
Sides and main Dishes:
Palestinian Ijeh herb Frittata
Mint Chutney by Tasha @tashaartisanfoods
Mint Za’atar pies by Samar @mimicooks
Sabzi Khordan by Kathryn @cardamomandtea
Olive oil Cypriot Savory Cake by Eleni @myfamilysfooddiary
Turkish Pizza by Mahy from @twopurplefigs
mint is in the meat mixture and also on the toppings
Kousa or zucchini in yogurt mint sauce by Omayah @omayahcooks
Minty Cool Desserts:
Mint grasshopper matcha pie by Bella @ful-filled
Mint Chocolate ice cream sandwiches by Jennifer @thelemonapron