Getting Into Mint Condition
By Chelsea Fisher
In its several varieties, mint has been used as a venerable folk medicine to aid digestion, relieve sore throats, treat headaches, colds, congestion – not to mention providing an near universal flavor for toothpaste, mouthwash, and chewing gum. According to The American Cancer Society, mint is a potential help in controlling nausea after surgery. Mint may also reduce the effects of chemotherapy, though this has yet to be proved in clinical studies.
Mint is a source of nutrition as well as a natural medicine standout, providing vitamin A, C, folate, and potassium. Fresh mint makes a great addition to ice water and tea, and can be a delicious addition to fruit salads. The herb is extremely popular in Middle Eastern and Sicilian cuisine, used in both sweet and savory dishes. The Greeks add fresh mint to flavor ground lamb kebabs.
Fresh mint should be easy to find at your local farmers’ market or grocery store. It spoils quickly so don’t be afraid to use it generously. If you have a yard or just a sunny windowsill, mint is hardy and easy to grow, though it has a tendency to spread aggressively, so keep it in a pot. If you store fresh mint in your refrigerator with the stems in water covered by a plastic bag, it should keep for about a week.
During chemotherapy, I found mint made drinking water palatable. Use fresh mint to add flavor to water by making our Mint Water or our Mint and Hibiscus Tea. Try using mint in savory recipes also, in a way similar to the way you use basil, as in our Warm Chickpea Salad, or Peruvian Quinoa Stew. Mint also adds a refreshing finishing touch to our delicious and colorful Pea Hummus.