Want to start growing herbs at home? How about an easy-to-manage herb used as the star ingredient in both an herbal tea and a trendy cocktail?
Did you guess peppermint? You’re right!
My First Peppermint Plant
When I first purchased a peppermint plant, it was on impulse.
I noticed this adorable little tear-shaped, small yet manageable, minty-smelling plant. The price was less than five dollars, a steal! I added it to my shopping cart and immediately planted it next to my porch in a limited sun area.
I was a young working mother with no free time, perpetually exhausted and chasing my toddler. Confident my curious toddler would not collect thorns or be poisoned by my selection, I planted this precious peppermint plant, gave it the first and only water offered by me, and forgot about it.
Not minding my neglect, the peppermint thrived.
One day I noticed this little plant was spreading and almost 12 inches high off the ground. Touching the leaves, they released a beautiful, minty aroma before popping back into their leggy, rambling habitat. A rush of gratitude swept over me for this sweet-smelling gift next to my stoop, and my love for herbs was born.
Autumn came, and I couldn’t bear to watch it die back unused, so I went out with scissors, cut the long stems, wrapped the bunches with string, and hung them to dry for tea.
Peppermint is so easy to grow it’s considered invasive. If you don’t have a lot of outdoor space, you can pot it in any container. Get tips on growing peppermint here.
How to Make Peppermint Tea
Peppermint can be used to add flavor to fish, poultry, salads, and more. But some of my favorite ways to use this versatile herb are in an herbal tea or refreshing mojito!
For a delicious cup of peppermint tea, follow these easy steps:
- Hang the stems in an airy place to dry.
- When dry, strip the leaves by holding the stem in one hand and running two fingers in a downward motion. The leaves will come away easily.
- Crush the leaves between your fingers or with a mortar and pestle to release the oil before pouring boiling water over them.
- Steep for 5 minutes.
Tip: You can also dry them on a cookie sheet with the heat set to a low temp for 2-3 hours.
Peppermint tea is settling to the stomach, can be given in a dropper for colic, and is brightening and refreshing to drink. Delicious with honey, lemon, and milk or cream.
How to Make a Mojito
A mojito is a simple drink made from mint, rum, and lime. It’s refreshing, zesty, and a great way to use the mint that’s growing in your garden.
- Ten fresh mint leaves
- 1/2 lime, cut into four wedges
- 1/2 cup club soda
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 1/2 ounces of rum or more to taste
Muddle the leaves and one lime wedge together in a glass to release the oil and juice. Add two more lime wedges and the sugar and muddle to release the lime juice into the sugar.
Add ice to the glass, pour the rum over the ice, stir in club soda or carbonated water.
Garnish with the 4th lime wedge, and you’re in business!
Set an intention to make this a staple in your garden or potted patio area. Peppermint is a must for every gardener, easy to grow, amazing to smell and offers so many options for the inside chef.
Kirsti Frazier, M.A. Religion, is a writer, blogger, gardener, working mother of two, student of world religions, and producer of botanicals. The owner and gardener at Miller Hill Farm, a revolutionary-era farm near Boston, Kirsti cultivate herbs for botanical tinctures, infusions, teas, and fragrance.