A refreshing herb with a menthol scent, aroma and taste, mint has an invigorating effect to the senses and is used in cooking to give flavor to many kinds of savory dishes and used to garnish desserts. It is also widely used in medicine, aromatherapy, and in commercial products like toothpaste, chewing gum, soaps, mouthwash, creams, and balms. There are more than 20 species of the mint plant and hundreds of hybridized varieties. They vary in shape and color with a range of flavors and scents. Below are some of the most common types of mint used in cooking or for making tea.
Peppermint is one of the most recognizable types of mint. It has high menthol content and subtle sweetness with a distinctive candy-cane scent. It is excellent for making tea, ice cream, candy custards, and other desserts. It also helps relieve tummy aches and soothes tired muscles.
One of the most popular types of mint used for cooking and is well known as a flavor for gum, spearmint or garden mint has a delicate aroma and distinct flavor. The dark green leaves with pointed ends and jagged teeth make beautiful foliage and an ideal companion plant for roses since it is known to drive away aphids. It is the most common kind of mint used in the kitchen and can be used for savory or sweet dishes.
Perfect for chocolate desserts as its name suggests, chocolate mint has an aroma that recalls after-dinner mints for refreshing the palate after a rich lunch or spicy dinner.
There are many kinds of fruit-flavored mints including orange mint, apple mint, lemon mint, lime mint, banana mint, and pineapple mint. This kind of mint has the distinctive menthol taste with fruity undertones or overtones. This is ideal for adding onto salads to give it a refreshing fruity and minty flavor, and is also excellent for making tea.
With leaves that grow up to only a fourth of an inch in length, Corsican mint is the smallest mint foliage. The bright green leaves make it beautiful as ground covers and herbal landscape. When they are walked on they release a scent called “crème de menthe.”
Bowles is widely used in English cooking. It has a fragrance that is a combination of spearmint and apple, with medium green leaves and a round shape with a hairy texture that might put off those who are not used to it.