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Mint Herbs

Updated on March 29, 2011

Use The Mint Herbs From Your Herb Garden

Harvesting is the first step to using your mint herbs. Timing plays a major role in this process, too. Wind and heat are both known to get rid of essential oils that help make up the herb. So selecting a midsummer morning where it is dry as well as peaceful, would be extremely ideal. The herbs should be harvested just before the time when their flowers open, which is typically, right after the leaf’s dew has dried. To harvest, a gardener only needs to remove a predetermined amount of the herb’s growth. And, the harvested herb does not need to be used immediately, either. More importantly, use caution when cutting off the foliage because only a third of it needs to be cut at a time. In order for mint herbs to keep growing, they need a certain amount of foliage. A person's herb garden design also comes into play when trying to keep the plants growing.  Also remember to do garden inspections and get rid of any unwanted guests like insects or even damaged leaves prior to harvesting anything.

Furthermore, there are three commonly used herb preservation methods. One of them is drying. Drying mint herbs involves bundling 6 to 12 stems of herbs together with string and removing foliage around the base of each stem. Next, hang the entire bundle in a place, away from any sunlight, that has a cool temperature. For single leaf drying, use a rack or some sort of screen. Throughout the drying process, constantly flip them over so they properly dry. Also, using appliances to dry your herbs is not a proper way of drying them, either.

Another method to preserving your mint herbs is freezing. Freezing is rather simple, too. Take each herb and cut them into a quarter of an inch pieces. Get a baking sheet and line it with some wax paper. Next, place the cut up pieces of herbs on it and place in the freezer. After your mint herbs have become frozen, transfer them to a storage bag and put back in the freezer for later use.

Gardeners have also learned to use mediums for preserving herbs from their home herb garden. Mediums can be vinegar or salt. Basically, cover the herbs with your chosen medium and its preservation time last for many months. Get creative, too, by creating salt with wonderful flavors. During the process, simply change the layers of freshly picked mint herbs between salt. When it dries completely, then separate the brown-colored herb from the salt that is now flavored. Finally, get an airtight storage container to store them in and put them away.

Most people will use their mint herbs freshly picked from their garden. Before using them in recipes, though, clean them in a bowl full of cool water. For large amounts of herbs, simply use the sink. Get some salt, scoop out two tablespoons, and add it to the cool water. The purpose of the salt is to keep insects away without causing any damage to the herbs. Now go ahead and take the herbs out of the cool salt water. Finally, use a salad spinner to dry the herbs.   

Gardeners should know that each herb has its own purpose. The ways you care for them, use them, and chop them varies from one herb to the next. So to properly learn these ways, make sure you do some research.

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