Home Grown Mint


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Home Grown Mint

Postby Proinsias » May 31st, '08, 14:39

I've got a rather nice apple mint plant just outside my backdoor. It makes a wonderful mint tisane amongst other things.

I'm planning on drying out and jar storing as many leaves as possible over the next few months to prevent my spouse from funding any companies who offer low quality tea with her mint teabag purchases. Just wondering if anyone knows the best way to go about this. Slow and steady picking of the older leaves or wait a while and nigh on strip the plant etc. To ensure the biggest overall yield.

In fact if anyone has any interesting mint related info I'd be keen to hear it.
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Re: Home Grown Mint

Postby PolyhymnianMuse » May 31st, '08, 16:20

Proinsias wrote:I've got a rather nice apple mint plant just outside my backdoor. It makes a wonderful mint tisane amongst other things.

I'm planning on drying out and jar storing as many leaves as possible over the next few months to prevent my spouse from funding any companies who offer low quality tea with her mint teabag purchases. Just wondering if anyone knows the best way to go about this. Slow and steady picking of the older leaves or wait a while and nigh on strip the plant etc. To ensure the biggest overall yield.

In fact if anyone has any interesting mint related info I'd be keen to hear it.


I would say slow and steady. Completly striping the plant will most likely kill it, and you can always harvest more off the plant when it grows back. This will probably give you more yield than waiting for the plant to get so big and than just harvesting it all. As for drying, I would say air dry your mint. Dehydrator drying, sun drying, or oven drying contributes to loss of flavor and color in your dried herbs. Something else to consider would be to freeze your mint rather than drying it.
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Postby Proinsias » May 31st, '08, 18:53

hmm, now you've got me thinking about white mint, green mint, oolong mint etc. I'll be drinking mint matcha before the week is out.
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Postby tenuki » May 31st, '08, 19:09

Most herbs are most potent when they first start to flower in my experience - wait till then and harvest en mass for the best dried.

Fresh mint however is divine, just double the amount vs dried. That can be picked as you go.

One thing about mint, it's best to have a containment strategy otherwise it will take over your garden. lol.

For brewing gong fu or matcha you may have to crush the fresh mint or dice it to get the balance you are looking for. I see experiments with powdered mint and matcha in my future. :D Time to get out the ol pestal and morar.

MMMnnnn, mint !!!
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Postby Carnelian » May 31st, '08, 20:15

This thread makes me think that my neighbor friend will be hearing me barter for some of her lemon mint harvest. Or i'll get my own plant. Or I'll just climb over the neighbor's fence in the middle of the night.
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Postby PolyhymnianMuse » May 31st, '08, 22:30

I was actually thinking the same thing haha. I wonder if mint from the seed is not too hard or would I be better off just buying mint plants that have already been growing for a bit?
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Postby tenuki » Jun 1st, '08, 03:22

Carnelian wrote:This thread makes me think that my neighbor friend will be hearing me barter for some of her lemon mint harvest. Or i'll get my own plant. Or I'll just climb over the neighbor's fence in the middle of the night.


Just ask her for some cuttings, put them in a window in a glass of water, watch them grow roots, then plant them. Honestly, it's hard to not get it to grow. you could probably just stick the cuttings directly in the soil and have them grow but the water glass is more reliable.

For best results strip off the bottom leaves and cut the stem so that there is about an inch below the stripped leaf node. Most herbs in your garden can be propigated this way.

One other thing, choose the plant with the strongest/best aroma to take your cuttings from. ;)
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Postby Proinsias » Jun 1st, '08, 06:05

I think I've got another two months at least until flowering time, I 'll try to use this time to perfect my drying technique.

My containment strategy is using a bricked around square of garden at the back door, sticking in loads of herbs and watching what happens. Anything that's getting too big for its boots will be removed and sentenced to a life of pots - we'll see if the mint can grow faster than I can amputate bits of it and let them bake in the sun, or air, or whatever.
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Postby Proinsias » Jun 1st, '08, 06:09

Carnelian wrote:This thread makes me think that my neighbor friend will be hearing me barter for some of her lemon mint harvest. Or i'll get my own plant. Or I'll just climb over the neighbor's fence in the middle of the night.


I can't help thinking about you tea drunk at 3am caught on a fence with a sprig of mint.
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Postby witches brew » Jun 1st, '08, 10:53

Keep in mind that mint spreads by runners under the soil. The best way to contain it is to plant it in a clay pot and sink the pot into the soil with the rim just at ground level.

I used to live in a house where spearmint ran rampant through the flower borders. I never planted any, but a previous owner must have.
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Postby Cinnamon Kitty » Jun 14th, '08, 21:50

I air dry my mint in a cool, dry, dark place by tying a few stalks together and hanging them upside down from somewhere. To get the leaves off, I just run my fingers down the stalks and end up with a pile. It is better to do that over a tray or piece of parchment paper or something and not directly on the table. We have spearmint and lemon mint that are awesome for teas and make great air fresheners while drying. The spearmint spread all over the garden boxes, but the lemon mint is happy to stay in one spot at the corner of the porch.
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 14th, '08, 22:07

Cinnamon Kitty wrote:I air dry my mint in a cool, dry, dark place by tying a few stalks together and hanging them upside down from somewhere.


Best method. To improve flavor and color retention, use paper lunch sacks, put the greens inside and loosely tie closed around the stems, then hang in a cool, dry place from the stems. The greens should have plenty of room (don't flatten the bag on them.) It takes a touch longer this way, but the herb quality is much better and definitely worth the extra effort.

I learned this method from someone who grows her own herbs to dry and make herbal cremes and salves.
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Postby LavenderPekoe » Jun 15th, '08, 20:52

I don't know anything about gardening, but a couple of weeks ago I planted a few window boxes; one with strawberries, one with flowers and one with orange mint and chives. I made some tea out of some of the orange mint, but it was too herb-y tasting and not minty enough. Do I need to let it grow longer, you think? The leaves are kinda small.
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Postby JadeKitsune » Aug 19th, '08, 23:20

*cheers* What a wonderful community!

I'll join the crowd of mint harvesters. I found some spearmint growing rampant in my mother-in-law's back yard last weekend while we were over there painting. I miss mint tea!

Lavender -- Congrats on the window-boxes! I wish you the best of luck. I've never heard of orange mint, sounds tasty!

I had a delicious chocolate mint plant I used to make tea from, and it came out alright.

I'm not an expert (yet!), but here are some random ideas:

You might look at the soil conditions. Overly acidic or alkaline soil will affects the flavor of plants.

Last year we grew some tomatoes in STRONG mushroom fertilizer. They came out tasting like peppers. Biting into thai peppers grown in that soil tasted like a mouthful of battery acid. We had some great times handing those little devils to unsuspecting friends. ;-)

As you mentioned, give the plant a bit longer to grow. My guess would be subtle flavors might take a bit longer to develop.

Also... growing mint with chives might change the flavor a bit.

I'd love to hear from someone more knowledgeable!

On a related note, thanks GeekgirlUnveiled for sharing the great drying method.

Best method. To improve flavor and color retention, use paper lunch sacks, put the greens inside and loosely tie closed around the stems, then hang in a cool, dry place from the stems. The greens should have plenty of room (don't flatten the bag on them.) It takes a touch longer this way, but the herb quality is much better and definitely worth the extra effort.
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Postby Mary R » Aug 20th, '08, 09:51

I don't have space to have herbs drying for any length of time, so I take a stack of furnace filters, lay the herbs on them, stack them all together again, then strap them all to a big air fan. Turn the fan on, flip the whole stack around after about 12 hours, and by the end of the day the herbs are perfectly dried.

I learned this technique from Alton Brown's Herbal Preservation episode. It's on YouTube at the moment in two parts: part 1, part 2. The drying bit is in part 2 beginning at 2:46.
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