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We love our mint patch; it comes back every year without fail, even when we have dug all around it to install solar panels or cut it back to address a disease. It's tucked in a corner of the house where there's no need for maintenance and no chance of it taking over other gardens. Mint can be invasive, but it is delightfully resilient if you're careful about where you grow it!
As much as we love our patch of mint, like many of the things we grow, we aren't quite as familiar with using mint in our cooking, so we needed a little help from our friends to widen the breadth of options.
You can benefit from all of the research we did by consulting the links throughout this article and choosing something to expand your menu. Let us know if you cook any of them; we'd love to know what you think!
Here are five categories of good eating (and drinking) that make great use of mint:
1 Beverages - Mint almost screams out to be muddled and mixed with sugar to be enjoyed in your favorite mint-infused beverage. Our favorite, hands down, is the Mojito. No other drink tastes so much like summer. Check out this delicious Mojito Recipe from Epicurious. If you want to stick with cocktails there is also the classic Mint Julip, with this recipe for a whole pitcher from The Kitchn, There also plenty of non-alcoholic drinks you can make with fresh mint - we make a rhubarb-mint concentrate at this time of year that can be used for lemonade, spritzers, or margaritas (oops, that's another cocktail). And of course you could always make a simple fresh mint tea or simply add some mint to your water to sip on throughout the day.
Nothing beats a refreshing mojito on a warm summer night!
2 Salads - Like most herbs, mint can be an excellent addition to a summer salad. It adds a unique flavor that is incredibly fresh and bright. Salads that take advantage of mint often have a Greek or Mediterranean theme, like this Chopped Salad with Feta, Lime, and Mint from Smitten Kitchen or this simple Lebanese Cucumber and Tomato Salad from Rose Water and Orange Blossoms. If your'e google searching, try looking for corn, quinoa, or tabbouleh recipes that call for mint - they can be a great addition to a summer barbecue to mix things up a bit.
3 Sauces - to go with your salads and side dishes, there are also a lot of options to use mint in your condiments. Spice up your pesto with a recipe like this Mint Pesto variation from Serious Eats, or this Mint & Basil Pesto Recipe from Eating Well. For a break from the ordinary, add mint to your homemade salad dressing like this Lemon Mint Vinaigrette from Genius Kitchen. You can also stick with the greek theme and make a Greek Yogurt Sauce with Garlic and Mint (like this one from Cooking Light) that would go well on salmon or chicken.
4 Meats - speaking of meat, there are a bunch of meats that pair deliciously with mint, whether you use it as a marinade, a dip, or a sauce (like the one above). A classic combination, of course, pairs mint with lamb, like this Greek Lamb with Mint Yogurt recipe from The Food Network or these Mint-Marinated Lamb Skewers from Genius Kitchen. As mentioned before, mint can also complement salmon, as in this recipe for Salmon with a Lemon-Mint Crust from health.com. We're also dying to try this Honey-Mint Glazed Grilled Chicken from Simply Recipes.
5 Desserts - It will come as no surprise that there are also a lot of excellent ways to use mint in your desert recipes, especially for recipes that normally use a mint extract - substituting fresh mint by infusing it into your butter is a cool trick. That is how this recipe for Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies from Baker Betty adds the mint flavor. I'm curious to try the same method with brownies. Likewise, you can infuse the mint flavor into your milk or cream for an amazing homemade Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream like this one from Serious Eats.
We'd love to hear your ideas for awesome mint recipes too!
For more recipe round ups, check out our articles on how to cook with radishes and rhubarb!