Last weekend I wrote about basil, a favorite herb of mine. For this weekend, my second time participating in Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Weekend Herb Blogging event, I decided to call a herb from my childhood: mint.
What does mint have to do with my childhood?
At my grandparent’s home in Wappingers Falls, NY, where I lived for the first 11 years of my life, my grandmother grew two edible crops – tomatoes and mint. I don’t remember much of her tomato growing, mostly because the plants never seemed to produce much fruit. But as for the mint, I fondly remember running out around the kitchen island and out the Dutch door to pick some fresh and fragrant mint leaves to toss into pitchers of iced tea. And I can still remember stooping in that clumsy child way and plucking a leaf from the plant just to sniff it a bit when I was very little.
It’s funny how a smell, a sight, a sound can bring you back in time. Just writing this post, I am flooded with images of my childhood – of the home my grandparents made, of the land where I played, and of my grandparents themselves. I can smell the scent that wafted around when my grandmother took her garlic pills (apparently it was some health craze) and I can feel the textured linoleum floor in the kitchen and feel the smooth countertops. And I can hear and feel the sensation when you’d open and close the built in bread box. There is just so much.
It’s hard to believe that’s a place where I can’t go back to and where I will likely never be again. I knew I would always miss them a lot when their time came, but I never knew it would be this much.
Back to the mint. The mint you see pictured, I bought at the grocery store. Still, the first thing I did when I got home was sniff it. Some things never change I guess.
GROWING: I plan on growing mint this spring and summer, and bought the seeds today. I’m going to do both the spearmint and peppermint varieties. Now, in case you didn’t know this, mint is an invasive species so you’ve got to be cautious when growing it. Originally, mine was going to go in the herb garden I am planning, but after considering it, I think I either need to grow it in a container or find a different spot. I’ll probably opt for the first option though.
HARVEST/STORAGE: According to the National Gardening Association, mint leaves can be harvested young or old and can be dried for storage or frozen fresh. Check out their website for tips on saving the leaves.
USES: Mint leaves can add a nice zing to iced tea or be used to make fresh tea. They are also used for a variety of alcoholic drinks (Mint Juleps, anyone?) and desserts. One of the most interesting recipes I have come upon was for English Roast Beef on Allrecipes.com.
What did I do with the mint though? Check out my very original recipe for Basil Mint Not Pesto sauce.
On a sidenote, after writing this, I noticed that Cream Puffs in Venice has a great post up about a similar topic – except hers involves chicken stock. Check it out.
Weekend Dog Blogging
Also, although I usually don’t blog about my pets, I had to submit this photo for Sweetnick’s Weekend Dog Blogging. This is one of my two beagles, Scrappy. See the biscuit under his paw? Well, remember the zwieback debacle? Well apparently, my failed attempt at baby teething biscuits proved worthwhile after all. I seem to have stumbled on a recipe for great dog treats…I’m going to do some tweaking on it and I will post the recipe sometime in the future. Scrappy and my other beagle, Snoopy, are gaa-gaa over them.