Basil, apple, sage and spearmint;
Oregano, catnip, pineapple and peppermint;
To many dishes their flavor they’ve lent;
Yet why is one not called merriment?
Grandma June grew a peppermint bush around the water spigot off her front deck. Content in its moist, rich soil and shaded in the afternoon, the plant grew to be a monster. There was no way to reach in and turn on the hose without stirring up the mint’s refreshing fragrance or the bees if the plant was in bloom. Each year she harvested the mint to make teas or jelly to serve with lamb or give as gifts.
In a burst of sentimentality, I planted a clump of mint next the water tap outside my back door. It’s an easy grab to add fresh mint to salads and soups or to make refreshing teas, hair rinses and other delights. And there’s an added bonus–ants hate peppermint. So if you have a few pests in the spring consider a planting of mint, especially spearmint, lavender and penny royal along your home.
A little mint history
The aromatic presence of the mint family have be pleasing our senses for centuries. Mints (mentha) are a part of the lamiaceae or labiatae family–which isn’t a small family. It includes many of our favorite culinary herbs like basil, rosemary, oregano, sage and penny royal. Honestly, there is a bit of debate in the horticulture world as to what clearly defines the mint family, but most recognize that there at least 25 species of mints and countless hybrids including the fun stuff like pineapple, ginger and chocolate mint.
We can track mint’s usage all the way back to Pliny the Elder in the […]