Mint brightens sweet and savory dishes with its excellent, energizing flavor and fragrance. Beyond mojitos and juleps, this aromatic herb has a place in kitchens worldwide. Here are ten delicious ways to cook and bake with fresh mint:
- Make chutney, raita, or salsa verde - Blend mint with spices, herbs, yogurt, or oil for flavorful sauces and condiments.
- Toss into fruit salad - Add handfuls of chopped mint into fruit salads for a tangy kick. It goes excellent with melon, oranges, grapefruit and berries.
- Season grilled meats - Rub or marinate lamb, chicken, or steak with mint to complement the savory flavors.
- Garnish soups and curries - Cool down a steaming bowl of lentil or chicken curry with a mint garnish.
- Whip-up tabbouleh - The fresh parsley and tomato salad relies on mint for its trademark flavor.
- Mix into cocktails and lemonades - Muddle leaves into mojitos, juleps, punches, and infused water.
- Make mint tea - Steep leaves in hot water for a soothing, caffeine-free tea time.
- Bake into desserts - Add rounds of mint to fruit tarts, chocolate cookies, and ice cream.
- Toss with vegetables - Saute veggies like peas and potatoes with olive oil, garlic, and mint.
- Preserve in oil or vinegar - Infuse olive or vinegar to inject minty flavor into upcoming meals.
With its bright, refreshing flavor and fragrant aroma, mint is a versatile herb that can elevate sweet and savory recipes. While mint is classic in drinks like mojitos, juleps, and lemonade, it also shines when incorporated into sauces, salads, meats, soups, curries, desserts, and more.
When cooking with fresh mint, add the leaves toward the end of cooking to help preserve the delicate mint flavor and aroma. Chop, tear, or chiffonade the leaves before adding them whole or sliced to your dish.
Another easy way to impart mint flavor is to make mint-infused oil or vinegar by letting mint leaves steep in the liquid. You can also purée or muddle fresh leaves into dips, dressings, and marinades. Dried mint can also be used instead of fresh mint when it's out of season.
From ancient Greek and Middle Eastern cuisine to South Asian curries to summer cocktails, mint is ubiquitous in kitchens globally. Together with its sensory appeal, the herb also offers digestive and antimicrobial benefits when consumed.
As a staple cooking ingredient and healing food, mint can instantly elevate grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat with its magical burst of flavor and nutrients.
So, next time you cook, consider the power of mint to enliven your meal. Sprinkling chopped leaves or mint-infused oil can transform a bland dish into something special.