Katie's Healthy Bites: 3 Refreshingly Minty Recipes
When I think of mint, my mind drifts to a hot summer day and a frosty glass of herbal iced tea muddled with this refreshing and invigorating herb. But it's not just for tea -- popular parings include lamb, carrots, spring peas and beans and desserts. There are over 500 varieties of the herb -- here are a few of my favorites types and recipes.
Each type of mint has a distinct personality. Here are several types to try:
Spearmint: This type of mint adds the distinct flavor to Wrigley’s Spearmint Gum. Make this herb your own by grabbing a handful of fresh leaves to flavor an iced tea, lemonade or fresh salsa.
Peppermint: One of the most pungent varietals, peppermint is the flavor you taste in many commercial toothpastes and liquors. Peppermint tastes great paired with sweets like hot chocolate, fresh fruit and marmalades or jams.
Lavender Mint: With a soft floral overtone, this variety has similar uses to peppermint and spearmint but is best used in cosmetics and cleaners as a fragrance. Want to try it? Lavender mint in tea is very soothing.
Basil Mint: Though tangy and spicy, I wouldn’t call it basil. A splash of peppermint makes this treat an excellent complement to lamb or pork
Pineapple Mint: Sprigs of this citrus flavored herb can be warmed in a pot of water for tea, leaving behind its fruity sent.
Chocolate Mint: The chocolaty flavor of this mint adds rich dimensions to any kind of desert or quick bread recipe.
Mint grows far and wide in semi-shaded, moist areas; it’s been known to blanket any garden space. Planting it is the simple part; the challenge is keeping it tidy. To prevent it from disturbing the rest of your garden, confine it to a pot. All it takes is a 12-inch container filled with compost-rich potting soil. Sprinkle your seed, water regularly, and watch it flourish.
Dry it! Bundle some fresh sprigs together and hang them upside-down in a paper bag in a warm, dark room. Wait for a couple of weeks until completely dry.
Fill ice cube trays with water. Submerge several mint leaves (you can use a different varieties) in each compartment. Freeze. Serve these beautiful ice cubes with water, ice tea, lemonade or your favorite cocktail.
Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Toss with lime zest, juice, chopped mint and champagne. Serve immediately.
Rinse quinoa. Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then turn down and simmer. Cook covered for 10-12 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy. Cool.
In a medium bowl, whisk the olive oil with the garlic, lemon juice and zest. Add the minced parsley, mint, chives, and the cucumber and toss. Add the quinoa and tomatoes and toss together. Season with salt and pepper and serve.