Mint is a sweet-smelling, hardy herb that can be used in many beverages, sauces, vegetable dishes and desserts. Curtis uses mint in many of his dishes, but it would be a sin to pass on the Sautéed Baby Bananas With Sour Cream, Spearmint, Chili and Lime. Read on to learn more about this herb's sordid past and then get cooking!
Origins and Folklore
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Mint plays a big part in Greek mythology. According to legend, Menthe — a Greek nymph and Pluto's lover — angered Pluto's wife, Persephone, who in a fit of rage cast a spell turning Menthe into a plant that could be walked upon.
The myth goes on to state that Pluto was unable to reverse the spell. However, he was able to soften it by giving Menthe a sweet scent that would perfume the air when her leaves were stepped on — thus giving us the aromatic herb mint.
Whether you believe the myth or not, there's no denying the sweet-smelling scent of mint and its value in cooking.
In later times, mint was seen as a symbol of hospitality. Southern ladies and gentlemen created a popular summer cocktail with this fragrant herb. They can often still be found sipping mint juleps on a hot, summer afternoon.
How to Grow
Mint is not conducive to growing indoors, because it can quickly outgrow any pot or container. Growing mint in your garden is easy, as mint practically grows itself. In fact, if you're not careful, mint can take over your whole garden.
Mint prefers partial shade and moist, moderately rich soil, but it will also prosper in any light from full sun to full shade. To encourage regrowth, pinch off the stem ends each spring.
Spearmint is best for sauces. Spearmint or peppermint sprigs can be added to drinks and fruit dishes as a garnish.
It also makes a refreshing tea. Peppermint makes an excellent flavoring for ice cream, chocolates and other desserts.
Chef Stone's Recipes
Try these unique recipes and see for yourself how mint really adds to a dish!
Artichokes Filled With Pork, Mint and Pine Nuts
Sautéed Baby Bananas With Sour Cream, Spearmint, Chili and Lime