Mint is easy to grow, however it is an "enthusiastic" plant, meaning it can easily take over a garden. One way to keep it contained is to plant it in a container. Be sure to put it in a sunny or semi shady spot, and watch every day or so to see if it needs watering. It attracts bees, butterflies and other good pollinators and is resistant to browsing deer. Keep pinching off tips or cut longer stems to use it for tea, or to make delicious desserts.
There are many kinds of mint, all suitable for growing in zone 4 or 5. Here are a few of the kinds you would find at plant sales and greenhouses.
- Apple Mint – Tall sturdy stems with large, fuzzy, grey-green leaves that smell slightly of apple, bears white flowers in summer.
- Chocolate Mint – This herb has dark, rich foliage. It tolerates hot, dry conditions and is not as invasive as most mints.
- Orange Mint – Smells of citrus and is spicier than most mints. Requires little care.
- Peppermint – The most famous of all mints, it requires little care and makes excellent teas and candy.
- Spearmint – One of the most intensely fresh mints, milder than peppermint, it is used in sauces, jellies, and teas.
Here is a recipe for chocolate mint sauce. It is great over vanilla ice cream and delicious when you dip fresh strawberries in it. It is easy to have decadent treats like this when you grow your own mint. Another recipe is for the easiest possible beverage, gingery, lemony, minty ale. Delicious in the summertime!
Chocolate Mint Sauce
1/4 cup boiling water
2 T chopped fresh mint
9 oz semi sweet chocolate
1 1/2 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 T butter
1/2 cup milk
- Pour boiling water over the chopped mint and allow to steep for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Strain. Discard mint leaves.
- Melt chocolate and butter.
- Add milk and two tablespoons of the mint “tea.” Stir until well blended.
Gingery, lemony, minty ale
2 springs fresh mint, crushed
pitcher of crushed ice
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 lemon, sliced
2 cans ginger ale
- Mix and serve.
- Add additional mint sprigs for garnish, if desired.