In Mint Condition

In this post, Jason teaches us how to propagate our own mint from a cutting and we find out just why we find mint so refeshing!

Spearmint flowers in our Art Garden

On a hot summer day with blue skies and lush green grass, there’s often not much more we want than a refreshing beverage to cool us down.

There’s one particular herb that can be found in many drinks and foods which can give us that cooling effect- mint.

We can find mint in many things these days. From teas, cocktails, cakes, sauces, oils to toothpaste, medicine and gels.

If you have ever tried growing your own mint, you’ll be aware that it is not only very easy but also grows extremely quickly.

Mint can be propagated from a cutting. All you need to do is place a sprig (remove all but 2-4 leaves at the top) in a container with some water until the roots grow out. Once the roots have grown out, plant the mint in a pot with soil and you now have a brand-new mint plant.

So why does mint give us a refreshing lift?

Mint contains a substance called menthol. When this substance is eaten, the menthol causes the receptors in your mouth to send an impulse to your brain, telling you that your mouth is cold. This in short, tricks your brain into thinking that the area in your mouth is cold, giving you the cool sensation when you breathe in, despite your temperature remaining the same. This is one of the reasons why you feel a cool sensation when you use vapour rub.

There are many different types of mint, with differing degrees of intensity. From peppermint, spearmint, apple mint to even chocolate mint (yes it really does taste like chocolate and mint!)

There is a near-endless list and combinations of what you can do with mint. My advice is to be creative with it and who knows, you might discover flavours you never knew would work together!

If you happen to walk through Whitworth Park this summer, feel free to help yourself to some of the spearmint our staff and volunteers have grown.

If you rub the leaves in between your thumb and fingers, the leaves with give you a mild minty scent.

They’re not ideal for a cup of tea because of the small hairs on the back of the leaves but blanch them and they go great with potatoes!

Please pick from the sides or the back of the mint patch as their flowers are slowly coming through (see below.)

Spearmint patch blooming in our Art Garden.

Happy foraging!

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