Week 34: Mint
There are about 25 different species of mints, while peppermint and spearmint are the most widely known. Peppermint leaves are especially prosperous in warm weather however they are available all year long.
Mint is an ancient herb and has been used for its culinary, medicinal and aromatic properties. It has been used around the world from Europe to India and to the Middle East.
Fresh peppermint leaves are a good source of manganese, copper and vitamin C.
Gastrointestinal relief- It is believed the menthol in peppermint leads to relaxation of the smooth muscle within the GI tract. This relaxation can relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (indigestion, dyspepsia and colonic muscle spasms).
Anti-microbial support- The essential oil of peppermint stops the growth of many different bacteria and some types of fungi.
Respiratory tract- A substance in peppermint, rosmarinic acid, has been shown to be beneficial in asthma, it helps open the airways to improve breathing and relieves nasal symptoms of allergic rhinitis.
Antioxidant- As a rich source of vitamin C, some studies have shown a decreased risk of colon cancer.
Selection and Storage:
Choose fresh mint leaves which are superior in flavor over the dried form of the herb. The leaves should be a vibrant, rich green color, free of dark spots or yellowing.
If you choose to use the dried version, aim to use organically grown mint to be assured it has not been irradiated.
Fresh mint will keep stored in the refrigerator for several days. Carefully wrap the leaves in a damp paper towel and place them inside a loosely closed plastic bag.
It's still summer! Enjoy this wonderful minty watermelon-cucumber salad from Taste of Home.