Mint – a fresh flavour for the summer months
Mint. A lush green plant that cools down our summer cocktails and warms up our winter tea. It even does sauces and gelato. Find out more about this versatile little leaf in our Vapiano guide.
The term mint is used for a plant genre with over twenty different varieties. Peppermint is one of the most popular. The lush green leaves contain essential oils responsible for the familiar minty aroma we know and love. Menthol is the most dominant and lends a fresh, cool flavour to toothpaste, chewing gum and cough sweets. It’s even rumoured to have anti-bacterial properties.
The ultimate summer cooler
Concentrated mint oil can even beat the heat on a sweltering summer day. Apply a few drops to your forehead, neck or temples for a refreshing, cooling effect. Make sure you stay well clear of the skin around your eyes though as this can cause a painful, burning sensation. We recommend using your ring finger to apply the oil as you’re less likely to rub your eyes.
Mint, in particular Moroccan mint or apple mint, is also ideal for making fresh beverages. Hot water with mint is a popular choice in Morocco and Turkey, but leaves are also added to black tea. You can easily brew mint tea at home and leave to cool for a more refreshing summer version. Alternatively, place a few sprigs in a jug of cold water and allow a milder flavour to unfold.
You can order fresh mint tea at our Vapiano Bar all year round. It’s said to have a digestive effect after dining, and in winter it’s great if you’re plagued by a cold. We also garnish our summer drinks and Dolci with a few mint leaves.
And did you know – apple mint isn’t the only fruity variety. There’s lemon mint, pineapple mint, orange mint and even strawberry mint! As well as delicate fruity notes, they also contain less menthol making them an exciting way for creative cooks to add flavour.
Growing your own mint
Feel like growing your own mint? You’ll need a spot out in the fresh air as this is one herb that needs light and lots of space. Mint prefers moist soil and can picked in large quantities on a regular basis. In fact, you may even have to take measures in the garden to stop this vigorous grower from spreading too quickly. Sprigs of mint can be dried in a warm, dry place. Once the leaves turn brittle they can be stored in a clean, dry container with a lid and used to make mint tea during the winter months. Mint flowers are also edible and look just as appealing in salads as they do to the butterflies and bees in your garden.
Most varieties of mint can be left out over winter so don’t worry if your plant appears to die off when it gets cold. Once spring rolls around new sprigs and leaves will start to grow again.
And if you’re stuck for ideas how to use your mint, take inspiration from the British. Mint sauce is a staple ingredient with roast lamb. Or look to the Middle East and North Africa where refreshing mint yoghurt is eaten with couscous or used as a dip.
Inspired to grow your own? Start planting today so soon you can enjoy mint from your garden or balcony box all year round. Buon appetito!