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30 Ways to use mint

Mint is a robust garden plant that's easy to keep happy
Mint is a robust garden plant that's easy to keep happy
Creative Commons (Gogo)

Mint is one of those workhorses of the garden. Once you plant it, your hardest job is keeping it from overtaking everything else in the yard and figuring out what to do with it all.

It grows easily in most of the country and robustly returns to zone 4 Minnesota gardens every spring, where it grows happily until fall frosts. It even comes in different flavors, such as chocolate mint and pineapple mint.

What to do with all that mint?

If you find yourself with a bumper crop of mint, here's ways to continually make use of it:

  1. Boiled with sugar and water to make mint syrup to sweeten drinks
  2. As a garnish for summer drinks like lemonade
  3. In place of some or all of the basil in pesto
  4. As mulch around garden plants such as tomatoes and cabbage to repel a wide variety of insects (use the leaves only, never plant in the garden as it's too invasive)
  5. Steeped with boiling water for fresh mint tea
  6. Chewed after meals for an instant breath freshener
  7. Added to green smoothies
  8. For mint iced tea -- steep mint in boiling water with sugar or honey, then chill
  9. Chopped and tossed with roasted potatoes, olive oil and salt
  10. Frozen in ice cubes for a pretty drink presentation
  11. For mint juleps with simple syrup, muddled mint leaves and Kentucky whiskey
  12. For Cuban mojitos with a similar recipe and rum
  13. Added to salads
  14. In mint butter -- pulse fresh leaves with butter in the food processor until combined, use in recipes or as a spread
  15. In cupboards and drawers to repel ants
  16. In a refreshing bath -- put fresh or dried leaves in a drawstring bag or bundle some stems with rubber bands
  17. In chocolate mint sauce
  18. Dried or frozen (lay flat dry leaves on a cookie sheet, flash freeze and pack in containers) for later uses
  19. Added to the water used to steam vegetables
  20. Added to rice dishes (whole leaves) just before serving
  21. Blended with lemon juice, vinegar and a light oil for salad dressing
  22. Mixed with olive oil for a marinade for the grill
  23. In a variety of ethnic dishes from regions like Vietnam, India, Israel, Lebanon, Greece and Morocco
  24. As mouthwash -- steep 4 TBS of chopped fresh mint leaves in 1 quart of boiling water, chill, then strain and keep in the refrigerator
  25. Added to soups and stews
  26. As a carpet cleaner -- mix dried, crushed leaves with baking soda, sprinkle, let sit an hour and vacuum
  27. In mint jelly
  28. Simmered in homemade hot chocolate
  29. Chopped and added to salsa
  30. Used to make homemade mint ice cream (here's a delicious vegan/dairy-free version)

If you have another favorite way to use mint, please add it to the comments!

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