Minty is a kind of taste which is similar to mint and this distinct taste is actually acquired by adding the herb “mint” in the food. The Mint herb can be of different types, but the two most commonly used in the minty food items are spearmint and peppermint, both of which have a strong and fresh aroma. Minty recipes give a mild cooling sensation to the tongue when tasted, with a slightly sweet flavor. For a stronger flavor, usually peppermint is used as in the candies and chewing gums, which are great as mouth fresheners. When pennyroyal mint is added to the foods, it not only leaves a strong flavor but also adds to the dish’s medicinal value. Some best known minty recipes are mint julep, watermelon mint smoothie, mint jelly, English mint sauce and chocolate mint cheese cake.
Historical and Cultural Facts about Minty Food
Minty food items have been popular since several centuries, particularly in Greece, where the herb has a lot of mythical significance too. However, the minty dishes were spread to the world mainly by the Romans, who introduced mint sauce in Britain. Minty food items became known in the U.S when the pilgrims brought the herb to the nation. But these foods flavored with mints became a massive popularity in the States only in the late 1970s. The earliest use of mint in foods comes from the making of breath freshening candies, which became a tradition in the American restaurants to be served in the form of white or red mint candies after dinner. Today, these minty candies are available in different colors and shapes and are popular worldwide. The combination of mint and chocolate has become a major hit these days and is increasingly being used in cake, ice cream and candy recipes.
Popular Types of Minty Food
Here’s a brief account of the different classes of minty recipes –
• Drinks – Beverages like mint julep, mint smoothie, mint tea and cocktails are common.
• Side Dishes – Lemon mint couscous and the Indian mint coriander thokku are some minty side dishes.
• Main courses – Popular minty food items in the main course category are the Indian Pudina Pulao (Mint Pilaf)
• Accompaniments – Indian mint chutneys, raita (mint mixed with yogurt) and mint dips are common.
• Desserts – Mint chocolate cakes and ice creams are most popular.
• Mouth Fresheners – Minty mouth fresheners or the “breath mints” are very popular all over the world and they come in the form of hard mints, scotch mints, peppermint candy canes and soft mints like dinner mints and butter mints.
Popular Minty Foods of Different Cuisines
Spearmint is the most common variety of mint used in the minty food items of world cuisine. In most cuisines, the herb is combined with vegetables like tomatoes, peas, potatoes and carrots. Often the fresh leaves of mint are used as garnish for salads. Pennyroyal mint is commonly used for seasoning black puddings and haggis. Peppermint is generally used in preparing minty sherbets, desserts and fruit dishes. In Middle Eastern cuisine, mint is used both in fresh and dried form for flavoring grilled meats, stuffed foods, hummus, dolmas and green dishes. In Indian cuisine, minty yogurt sauces, dips, chutneys and dressings are common. In American cuisine, mint is mostly used in cocktails, soothing drinks, liqueurs like creme de menthe, candies and chewing gums.
Health Implications of Minty Food
Minty food items are believed to be stimulative, stomachic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic and carminative. Mint enriches the food with fiber, copper, folic acid, calcium, omega-3 concentrates, potassium, ascorbic acid and magnesium.
Minty Food: Trivia
Minty beverages like mint tea, when drank after a meal acts as an effective digestive aid.