Mint, also known as menthe a variation of the Greek term mintha, is a green colored herb that is used as a flavoring agent in many mint recipes. In fact, this refreshing herb has innumerable culinary as well as medicinal uses. Fresh mint is ideal for cooking and this can be stored in airtight bags for a long shelf life. However, in case of non-availability of fresh mint, one can use dry or even frozen mint for mint recipes. This perennial herb is grown and available all over the world and is popular in all the cuisines. Menthol is the main ingredient that gives the characteristic aroma and flavor to mint.
History of Mint Recipes
Mint seems to have a mythological origin. Though there are no records stating as to when exactly mint was discovered, mint or menthe seems to have originated when the Greek god Hades changed his beautiful lover named Mentha into a perennial plant called Mentha, because of his wife’s jealousy. However, some early records show that mint and mint recipes have been in use since the Greek and Roman times. For hospitality and as a symbol of holy reverence in churches were some early uses of mint.
Culinary Uses of Mint and Mint Recipes
Mint has many culinary uses from appetizers to main course, desserts, and beverages and not to forget mouth fresheners. The culinary uses vary from cuisine to cuisine. Some well known culinary uses of mint in mint recipes are soups, salads, lemonade, alcoholic drinks such as Mint Julep and Mojito, in candies, jellies, ice creams, chocolates, teas, etc. Garnishing is one of the most desired and popular culinary use of mint.
Popular Mint Recipes in Various Cuisines
Mint is one of those herbs that is not only grown all over the world but is also popular with almost all the cuisines. Some popular mint recipes of various cuisines are –
- American – Roast Rack of Lamb with Buttered Red Currants, Mint Leaves and Sherry is one of the popular American mint recipes made by roasting lamb along with certain spices and herbs including mint, chicken stock and sherry. Other popular recipes of this cuisine are Mint Julep Cream Pie, Chocolate Peppermint Cream Torte, Butter Mints, Minted Sugar Snap Peas, etc.
- Italian – Mint Pesto is a popular Italian mint recipe that is served as a sauce with various dishes. It is made by blending together mint, parsley, garlic, olive oil and vegetable oil. It is served at room temperature for the best taste. Another popular mint recipe of this cuisine is Grilled Lamb Chops with Mint Rosemary Pesto.
- French – Peppermint Meringues is a popular mint recipe of this cuisine. The main ingredients of this baked dish are peppermint candies, egg whites, and cream of tartar. Sugar and salt are used as per taste. Another popular French mint recipe is Chocolate Mint Mousse.
- Indian – Mint Chutney is a very popular mint recipe of Indian origin. It has a very local flavor giving this sauce a spicy sweet and sour taste. The sauce is generally served as a side dish with various snacks and also used as a spread for sandwiches. Mint is also used in many fish recipes in India.
Non-culinary Uses of Mint
Mint not only has culinary uses, but is known for its non-culinary uses. Some popular non-culinary uses of mint are –
- Toothpastes, chewing gums, antiseptic mouth rinses, even some brands of cigarettes use mint oil
- Perfumes, shampoos, lipsticks contain this herb
- Certain pain relievers, muscle rubs and pastes for treatment of teeth, cold rubs also contain menthol.
- Home remedies that treat stomach ache and chest pain use this popular multi-purpose herb, mint.
Mint Recipes: Trivia
Mint includes a range of mint variety such as Apple Mint, Curly Mint, Pennyroyal, Peppermint, Pineapple Mint, Spearmint, Water or bog mint. Each one of them has mint flavor in different strengths and has a different purpose.