Mint is a very versatile herb. It continues to grow well for us in both the winter and summer. At the start of each spring, we do a lot of pruning to cut the mint back and give new shoots a chance to develop and grow. And grow they do!
We are always interested in showing off the roots of our mint plants to visitors. The plant roots itself deeply, and takes up the water purified by the fish in its extensive roots system. When you grow mint in an indoor structure during the summer, the one issue we tend to stay on top of is a condition called “powdery mildew.” It spreads when the air stands still instead of circulating. We address the problem proactively, clipping affecting shoots and using an organic spray that’s very effective that has a water-vinegar base.
“I really like the smell and the taste of mint,” said Chris. “It’s a great addition to our greenhouse and mint can be used in so many ways.” Matt has a unique and very accurate way of referring to the three types of mint we grow – collectively, he calls them “the mints” because we have three different types of mint in our grow beds.
Matt and Chris have become very skilled at propagating mint. Rather than raising new plants from seed, they “clone” mint by stimulating root growth with a special gel and placing a mint stem in rockwool under a plastic dome. Watered carefully, the mint begins to root itself in about two weeks and presto – you have a full-fledged mint plant ready to transplant! We have used this method to grow a number of the mint plants that are in our Downtown Skywalk Grow Beds and it’s been very productive for us.
Think that mint just has a pleasing flavor but nothing more? Not at all! Mint has trace amounts of iron and contains antioxidants. It’s well-known for its property to relax the stomach. The next time you use mint, you can know it’s very beneficial to your health too!
We have so many favorite ways to use mint. Matt loves our mint brownies. We’ve learned that the best way to use the mint in recipes like that is to run the mint through a food processor with a bit of water so the mint is an infusion. That way, the mint is distributed equally throughout the batter rather than lodging in just one place. Mint tea especially in the winter is always flavorful and relaxing. We just nest the mint in a cup and let it steep for about 4 minutes. It’s delicious and healthy!
We’d like to share our favorite summertime mint recipe with you. It comes from our friends at Edible Michiana Magazine, and is reported to be an Amish favorite. We call it “Meadow Tea.”
-4 cups mint leaves, tightly packed
- 8 cups water
-Juice of one fresh lemon
-1 cup sugar
-Harvest mint; separate mint stems from leaves
-Pour 8 cups of water into a cooking pot. Boil water,
-Make simple syrup: Place one cup sugar and one cup water in saucepan. Heat
until sugar dissolved, set aside to cool.
-After 30 minutes, strain with a sieve or colander to separate leaves from tea
-Chill tea 30 minutes
-Add juice of one lemon, “simple syrup,” and some ice.
-You’re ready to enjoy!
We hope that this summer, you relax with something minty. We hope you enjoy mint’s freshness, flavor, and wonderful fragrance!