How To Make The Most Of Mint | sheerluxe.com
A staple in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, mint can be a hero ingredient in sweet and savoury dishes, and is an essential component in a number of cocktails. Here, five chefs tell us how to store it, what to cook with it and how to make the most of this versatile herb.
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Storing Mint 

“If you want to make sure mint (or any other herb) stays fresh for longer, make sure to follow this simple process when you get home from your local shop: fill your kitchen sink up with cold water and give your herbs a bath for a couple of minutes, dry with a tea towel and then wrap in some kitchen paper. This way, your herbs will keep easily for up to two weeks in the fridge. If you find mint goes dark really quickly when you cut it, chances are that you are chopping the leaves. Mint (and basil) should always be chiffonade, which is a chef’s term for slicing. Pick the leaves, roll together like a cigar and thinly slice. This way they will not discolour.” – Cesar Fernandez, home economist at Miele GB

“Store fresh mint in lightly damped paper towels. Place inside a zip-lock or sandwich bag and seal, taking care not to crush the leaves. Mint will keep for ten days in the fridge. Alternatively, cut the ends off the mint stalk and remove the lower leaves. Place the mint into a glass with two inches of water. Cover with a sandwich bag, and place in the fridge.” – Heather Kaniuk, Smart Patisserie
 
“Mint is always best fresh or dried. Anything in-between just doesn’t cut the mustard and has a horrible ‘damp field’ flavour – we’ve all had that “flavoured water” at a cafe with a sprig of mint that’s been in it far too long. Pop your mint springs in a cup of water and keep in a cool place or remove from the packet and wrap in a damp piece of cloth and store in your fridge for maximum freshness. Also, remember those drawers in the bottom of your fridge – they’re for keeping herbs fresher for longer. Kick out the parsnips and that weird old jar of pickles and make space for your herbs.” – Sven-Hanson Britt, Chef Ambassador at Miele GB
 

Cooking With Mint

Cesar Fernandez, Miele

Dips and sauces: Try blending mint with yoghurt, garlic, lemon, salt and pepper for a great salad dressing. You can also make a mint pesto, which is delicious with some grilled chicken or in a vegetable soup like a minestrone.
Middle Eastern cuisine: Think about tabbouleh or falafel, where mint is heavily featured. Another great way to use mint is to make some courgette fritters and serve them with garlic yoghurt for a refreshing and light meal.
Lamb: You can always make your own mint sauce or if you’re cooking a curry, add in a large handful of mint leaves towards the end of cooking. As they wilt, they’ll infuse the curry and bring some much-needed brightness.
Desserts: If you want to make some chocolate chip mint cookies, try infusing the butter on a low heat with a large bunch of mint. Use this butter in your recipe for a hint of mint flavour. If you’re making truffles or you want to fill up some macaroon shells, infuse double cream with a few mint sprigs. You’d be surprised how much flavour they provide.

Heather Kanuik, Smart Patisserie 

Pesto: Use mint instead of basil when making pesto. Simply make a paste with almonds, pecorino cheese and a little garlic and lemon – the perfect pesto to spoon over pasta or serve with grilled meats.
Juices: Add a couple of leaves of fresh mint to your morning juices for a revitalising kick. Blitz mint with 1 apple, ¼ of a cup spinach and some ice cubes for a tasty green juice.
Mint sauce: Make a quick mint sauce to serve with roasted lamb. Warm 2 tbsp of malt vinegar and 2 tsp of sugar and a pinch of salt until dissolved. Add 4 tbsp of finely chopped mint leaves and serve.
 

Sven-Hanson Britt, Miele 

Salads: I chop mint and put it into crunchy salads with fennel, tomatoes, cucumber etc, but I also often make fattoush, tabbouleh, or salads of feta and mint. Mint is a great last-minute addition to long, slow, braised spiced dishes, like a harissa lamb shoulder or a chicken tagine. It offers a burst of freshness among the richness of these hearty dishes.
Middle Eastern dishes: The important thing is to put it in right at the very last minute. It’s the same process with a large Middle Eastern rice dish – have a go at making a huge dish of chicken, lots of whole spices, rice and caramelised onions, finished with broad beans, dill and mint. It couldn’t be simpler and is so delicious.
Fruit: Mint has a great affinity with pineapple, mango, strawberries and lime – so, just a fine chiffonade over one of these fruits for breakfast or dessert makes it feel really special.
 

Sebastian Pole, Pukka Herbs

Mint tea: Fresh, uplifting and enlivening, mint tea will assist your digestive system and awaken your mind. Drinking a mild cup of hot mint tea helps you to relax and is especially settling for upset digestion. Drinking a strong cup of hot mint tea is stimulating and boosts your energy. This is a simple go-to remedy if you have a bug, as it is a mild diaphoretic that can induce a gentle sweat and help to relax muscle tension. Plus, it’s absolutely delicious.

Grace Regan, SpiceBox

Pineapple: Try eating mint with pineapple – put a handful of leaves in a pestle and mortar with a tsp of granulated sugar and bash it up. Serve it sprinkled over pineapple chunks. 
Chutney: You can use mint to make a quick Indian green chutney. Just whizz up 1 tbsp of rapeseed oil, a splash of water, a bunch of mint, a bunch of coriander, 1 tsp of fine salt, a pinch of sugar, the juice of a lemon, ½ a thumb of ginger and 2 green chilies.
 

Inspired? Here are three easy recipes to make at home…
 

Courgette, Pea & Mint Soup, Cesar Fernandez

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 courgettes, thinly sliced
  • 650g of peas
  • 750ml of vegetable stock
  • 1 small bunch of mint, leaves picked but stalks tied together 
  • Salt and pepper 

METHOD
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the onion, add some salt and pepper and sweat for five minutes or until softened. Add the courgettes and cook for a further five minutes.
2. Add the mint stalks and vegetable stock, bring to a boil and then add the peas. Turn the heat down and simmer for another two minutes.
3. Remove the stalks from the saucepan, add the mint leaves and blend the soup. Check the seasoning and serve.
 

Fresh Mint, Farro, Courgette & Feta Salad, Heather Kanuik 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cups of farro (if you can’t find farro, you can substitute with pearl barley or brown rice)
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock or water
  • 2 courgettes
  • ½ cup of feta cheese, crumbled
  • ¼ cups of whole almonds, toasted
  • ¼ cup of mint leaves
  • ¼ preserved lemon, rinsed and thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tbsp of honey
  • ½ tsp of wholegrain mustard
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

METHOD

  1. Place the farro in a pan with the stock or water, and season well with salt. Bring to the boil then simmer for 25-30 minutes until tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
  2. Make the lemon vinaigrette. Whisk together 2 tbsp lemon juice, zest, honey, mustard and remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Slice the courgettes thinly lengthways into thin strips. Place in a bowl and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. Season well with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat a griddle until smoking, then lay the strips in a single layer. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, until lightly charred on both sides. Set aside.
  5. Place the cooked farro, courgette, preserved lemon, chopped almonds and feta in a dish and toss lightly. Add the ripped mint leaves.
  6. Lightly toss the salad with the dressing and arrange in a serving dish.
  7. Garnish with extra almonds and mint leaves.

 

Mint Herbal Tea, Sebastian Pole 

INGREDIENTS

  • As many types of fresh mint as you can find – peppermint, horsemint, spearmint and fieldmint are all great
  • 500ml of freshly boiled water
  • Honey (if you like it a little sweeter)

METHOD

  1. Put all of the ingredients in a pot.
  2. Add 500ml of freshly boiled water.
  3. Leave to steep for 5-10 minutes then strain.

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