Mint. What are three things that come to mind when thinking of this tenacious garden plant?
Sun tea? A spirited garnish? Or a salad woven with herbs? Yes, yes, and yes. We need to sneak mojitos in there too. What would summer be without a mojito made with fresh mint? The pairing of lime and mint is both bold and refreshing. Mix with white rum, serve over ice and top with seltzer for a thirst-quenching summer drink.
Grow Your Own
Grow mint from cuttings by letting them root in a glass of water; buy a seedling from your local nursery; or, better yet, find a friend that would like to thin and divide her plants. It’s happy to grow in almost any soil and is not picky about watering. Give it full sun and always plant in a container. (Never plant it out in the garden or in raised beds. It will quickly take over and weeding it will become a part-time job.)
To harvest, simply remove a few to a handful of leaves by pinching near the base of the leaf where it attaches to the stem. Gently pull the leaf away while snapping it perpendicular to the main stem. Or, use clippers and cut a sprig at a time. Take cuttings just above the next branching or leaf point. This will ensure that your plant continues to grow and there’s plenty more to harvest in the days and weeks to come.
Preserve & Eat
Growing your own mint means you can gather it as needed, but as summer wraps up you may want to preserve your harvest. Store it in the crisper of your fridge, dry it by placing it out of direct sun and heat or add it to ice cubes. I also like to cut sprigs of mint and place them like a bouquet in a mason jar of water for easy use in the kitchen.
Ultimate Mojito Recipe
6 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 3 limes, juiced)
1 lime quartered into wedges
2 Tbsp fine sugar
6 sprigs of mint
3 ounces white rum
Seltzer or club soda
Combine lime juice and sugar in a small pitcher and mix until dissolved. Next, add rum and stir. Place a handful of mint leaves in the bottom of each glass and gently press on the leaves using a muddler (a fancy bartender’s tool) or another tool like a soft edged wooden spoon. Your goal is to activate the fragrance and flavors within the mint leaves without breaking or bruising them. You know you’ve succeeded when the room is filled with minty fresh aroma. Fill glasses with crushed ice, top with the cocktail mixture and seltzer. Stir gently. Garnish with a sprig of mint and wedge of lime and enjoy!
Makes approximately 2 drinks.
If you love this recipe, be sure check out Emily's other recipes, including How to Make Wild Plum Sorbet.
|Emily Murphy is an organic gardener, writer, educator and creator of the popular blog, passthepistil.com. Her writing, design work and efforts with community outreach help to her spread her message, GROW WHAT YOU LOVE: "Find the things that make you happy and grow them — lots of them. Growing isn’t limited to a garden.” Follow Pass the Pistil on Instagram.|