Harvested my mint(s), what to do with it now?

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RogueRose

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I have never grown mint before this year and I just harvested what was available. I have 3 nice types: Spearming, apple mint and some other that smells similar to spearmint.

I plucked all the leaves from the stems as I was planning on drying all the leaves in the microwave (as I've done with parsley) instead of hanging upside down by the stems. With parsley this worked brilliantly, it lost no color and ended up turning into a flake or powder very easily. Now for the mint issues.

I tried drying in microwave just as I would with parsley and the leaves got really dark and it seems to have lost all smell. I then tried a smaller batch, to dry, and used 1/3 of the heat for 3x as long (so same watt hours used).

I know all these mints have been used to make delicious jellies before (neighbor did this) and I'm guessing that was done when fresh. EO extraction is probably usually done with fresh leaves as well.

Is there anything I can do with this freshly harvested mint? IdK how much EO 3lbs of mint leaves would produce anyway.
 

Obsidian

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Fresh mint really doesn't have any practical uses in soap making. You could oil infuse dried mint for salves or lotion. 3 lbs of fresh mint probably wouldn't make more then a few drops of EO.
I put my mint in the dehydrator, it stays pretty green that way. I use it mostly in teas during the winter.
 

DeeAnna

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I have made a simple syrup infused with lots of spearmint mint to use in hot or iced tea and adult beverages. I used honey from my bees as sweetener, but regular sugar is very good too. The way I made it, the finished syrup was dark green, but I didn't mind that. Yum!

ETA: I made several quarts of the syrup (DH likes his tea and has a major sweet tooth). I left one quart in the fridge and froze the rest in freezer safe containers.
 
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Susie

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In addition to dehydrating, I also make very strong mint tea and freeze it in ice cube trays. Then I just drop enough cubes in a pitcher of tea for flavor.

Mint winters over very well in warmer climates. Mine did fine down to 6F. It also tolerates being potted and brought inside for the winter. Then you have fresh mint all year around.
 

lsg

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I would probably dry my mint and use it later.
 

Arimara

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I have never grown mint before this year and I just harvested what was available. I have 3 nice types: Spearming, apple mint and some other that smells similar to spearmint.

I plucked all the leaves from the stems as I was planning on drying all the leaves in the microwave (as I've done with parsley) instead of hanging upside down by the stems. With parsley this worked brilliantly, it lost no color and ended up turning into a flake or powder very easily. Now for the mint issues.

I tried drying in microwave just as I would with parsley and the leaves got really dark and it seems to have lost all smell. I then tried a smaller batch, to dry, and used 1/3 of the heat for 3x as long (so same watt hours used).

I know all these mints have been used to make delicious jellies before (neighbor did this) and I'm guessing that was done when fresh. EO extraction is probably usually done with fresh leaves as well.

Is there anything I can do with this freshly harvested mint? IdK how much EO 3lbs of mint leaves would produce anyway.
I would tell you to send some to me. I love mint in teas and it would be great to make syrup with it. :D:p

But seriously, teas, oil infusions (use a candy thermometer and keep the oil around 170 degrees or a little lower), and simple syrups for whatever drinks you like are a great way to go. Heck, you can even make mojitos with some lime juice, seltzer/club soda and a simple syrup (and rum if you like that liquor :rolleyes:)

I have made a simple syrup infused with lots of spearmint mint to use in hot or iced tea and adult beverages. I used honey from my bees as sweetener, but regular sugar is very good too. The way I made it, the finished syrup was dark green, but I didn't mind that. Yum!

ETA: I made several quarts of the syrup (DH likes his tea and has a major sweet tooth). I left one quart in the fridge and froze the rest in freezer safe containers.
You keep bees too? Cool. I'm a little wary of using honey as a component for simple syrups but I don't deny it helps me and mine out during allergy season.
 

traderbren

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To keep the leaves a bit greener while drying, try blanching them. Dip them in boiling water for about 15 seconds, then plunge them in ice water. I learned this from Alton Brown, and we use it to keep our sage greener while drying. Sage is about 30 seconds in boiling water, btw.

It's much easier to blanch still on the stems though, so this might not help you now.
 

Wildcraft_Garden

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Parsley is one of those few plants that keeps its green, so it is a unique example (even in soap). The mint I would use to infuse the oil or tea, even then it will most likely turn brown.
 

DeeAnna

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"...I'm a little wary of using honey as a component for simple syrups..."

I'm curious -- why do you feel that way?
 

Arimara

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"...I'm a little wary of using honey as a component for simple syrups..."

I'm curious -- why do you feel that way?
Nothing against honey. Sugar is far more neutral to me so it's easier for me to blend different flavors with it. Honey, I tend to stick to lemon and sometimes ginger, when I'm resisting the urge to eat a spoonful straight.
 

DeeAnna

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Oh, yes, that makes sense! I totally understand what you mean. When paired with a distinctive or bold flavor like mint, lemon, or elderberry, I think the honey works well, and I'll use it as the only sweetener. If I want to use honey with more delicately flavored foods, I'll blend it 1/2 with sugar to lighten the flavor. For example, a honey-sugar syrup is really lovely for canning peaches or for making elderflower cordial.
 

RogueRose

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Ok, this is going off topic from soap but I need something to do with it and I can only think of the following:

-Jelly - apple mint (for lamb)
-frozen either whole or chopped slightly - possibly frozen in ice cubes
-put in home-made icecream ( never tried homemade mint icecream, could be interesting, I love me some homemade IC!!!!) any idea the best method of preservation as an Ice Cream Additive?
-chopped, dried and frozen then used in drinks like tea (hot or iced) or maybe mojitos..)

Any ideas on the ice cream method or should that be a special type of mint?
 

DeeAnna

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Mint ice cream -- I could also see infusing a handful of fresh mint leaves while cooking the custard base, if you make a cooked ice cream like that. I don't know that I'd use the leaves directly in the ice cream, unless chopped really fine.
 

Obsidian

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Any of you grow chocolate mint? It's not actually chocolate flavored but its the best mint I've tried. I have peppermint, spearmint, orange mint, ginger mint and chocolate mint. The orange and ginger isn't fit to eat.

I also have Corsican Mint, its a very small leafed ground cover. I haven't tried eating any yet. It looks a lot like baby tears, I'm going to bring some in for the winter.
 

Dahila

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I make an extract with alcohol. It is the best thing for stomachache. I tried to cover fresh mint with vinegar to use as fabric softener but it had not infuse so well. Then I dry some for the tea, my grandchild is a bit too young for my extracts, Must be 12. Dehydrator is a good idea:)
 

Susie

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My favorite mint is what we call "yard mint". I got a piece from my ex MIL. It is not peppermint, spearmint, or any other known species, but it has a good strong mint flavor that holds well in most uses. I just transplanted a whole pot to a raised flowerbed. It should have it covered before long.
 

Arimara

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My favorite mint is what we call "yard mint". I got a piece from my ex MIL. It is not peppermint, spearmint, or any other known species, but it has a good strong mint flavor that holds well in most uses. I just transplanted a whole pot to a raised flowerbed. It should have it covered before long.
I know what you mean. I think that's the mint that grows in the back yard. It's mighty strong and makes great mojitos, even with rum.
 

Susie

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And once it gets started in a patch of ground, it is almost impossible to kill.
 
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