basil mint pesto

It’s mint time!

It’s mint season and I hope that you love mint as much as I do. Mint is easy to grow, fragrant and tasty. It should be in every kitchen herb garden.

Mint adds zing to almost every food group. It makes deliciously flavored desserts, it’s great in salad dressings, meats, soups and vegetables. It has the additional benefit of aiding digestion and is a good source of vitamins and minerals. A mint bath is a great stress reliever. It’s a perennial and happily spreads to the point of being invasive. Tip – I plant mine in a coffee can, then put it in the ground, to keep it under control. I pick several stalks at a time, put them on my kitchen windowsill in a glass of water and they’ll stay fresh for a week.

Ways to use fresh mint:

Mint Tea: This is very simple to make and delicious! Use 5-10 large leaves, torn and placed in a bowl. Crush the leaves with the back of a wooden spoon in the bottom of the bowl. Pour very hot (but not boiling) water over the leaves and steep until it reaches the desired strength. Strain the tea. Makes one or two mugs.

basil mint pesto, watermelon mint salad

Add to salads – The watermelon salad, pictured above, in our June 2, 2017 article has 1 cup of fresh mint leaves added to it. Other salads that would love some mint are Quinoa & Tabouli with parsley and mint, chopped summer kale, or a cucumber, tomato & red onion salad.

Add to oils and vinegars to make mint infusions. Apple cider vinegar is a good vinegar to infuse with mint, and this is a good recipe for mint oil using grape seed or canola oil.

Make Mint Vinaigrette (from caterer Lulu Powers):

½ cup Champagne Vinegar
¼ cup lemon juice
2 small shallots, minced
1 teaspoon sugar, maple syrup or honey
¼ cup parsley
¾ cup fresh mint leaves
1 cup olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth, seasoning to taste with salt & pepper. Toss salad and drizzle with the vinaigrette.

Mint can liven up summer soups. My personal favorite is a creamy chilled mint and pea soup from Elena at As Easy As Apple Pie. This Orange, Carrot & Mint Soup also sounds yummy.

Basil Mint Pesto

Mint makes a great base for a pesto sauce, above.

Basil Mint Pesto

Prep time:  15 Minutes, Yield: 2½ cups

A simple and fresh dairy-free mint pesto recipe. Perfect for summer!

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup walnut halves
  • 1½ cups basil leaves
  • 1½ cup fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Toast the walnuts in the oven or pan for 5-10 minutes, turning occasionally.
  2. Combine the basil, mint and oil in a blender until smooth.
  3. Add the toasted walnuts, sunflower seeds and garlic and blend until pureed.
  4. Add the lemon juice and salt and blend once more.
  5. It’s now ready to be used or stored in the fridge in an air tight container or freeze in an ice cube tray and transfer to a freezer safe container to use later.

Chocolate and mint are great together and there’s nothing better than mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Add 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh mint to chocolate chip cookie dough for delicious minty cookies.

Add some chopped fresh mint to whipped cream.

Other ideas:

Freeze mint leaves into ice cubes to add to cold summer drinks.  Mint ice cubes decorate summer drinks. Pour water into each section of an ice cube tray – half way. Freeze. Lay one fresh mint leaf on top of the ice and pour in water to finish each cube. Freeze. Note – this technique works with berries, edible flowers or other garnishes.

Use mint leaves as natural breath fresheners, or make your own mint toothpaste.

Make mint potpourri by drying mint leaves in a low oven or dehydrator. When dried, chop and put into a sachet or piece of cheese cloth. Tie with a ribbon and hang on a door knob as a room freshener or tuck into drawers.

Let us know if you have any favorite uses for mint that we haven’t mentioned.

 

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