Kids respond really well to the familiar taste and fresh, perky scent of mint. Even my three picky eaters enjoy the herb and willingly harvest leaves for fruit salads, lemonade, and, most importantly, ice cream. Fortunately, mint is exceedingly easy to grow and spreads quickly to create an almost endless supply.
For years we’ve grown a staple crop of the chocolate mint variety in a raised planter by our front steps. It comes up thick and green every spring, despite winter freezes and the occasional blast of salt used to melt ice from the steps. This year, though, the kids and I decided to expand and try a smattering of other mint varieties. Mints now come in apple, pineapple, orange, spearmint, and one that smells exactly like a mojito. For a while, we had good results with Corsican mint, which is a low-growing creeping mint with tiny leaves that packs a strong mint scent. I thought it smelled exactly like crème de menthe. The kids thought it smelled like toothpaste. After sampling all the different types of mint, what do you suppose my kids liked best? Back to their original love: the chocolate mint.
Our Top 5 Ways to Use Fresh Mint:
Ice cream—simmer fresh leaves in cream before adding sugar and freezing
Sun tea—add a handful of fresh mint to the tea bags before setting the jar in the sun
Lemonade—add a handful of clean leaves to the pitcher
Fruit salads—finely-diced mint perks up mixed fruit salads
Grain salads—dice with other herbs and add to cooked grains such as quinoa or farro and mix with a vinaigrette