In part two of my feature on herbs in green smoothies, the herb of the day is beautifully scented and tasty Mint.
In Greek mythology, Pluto was in love with the nymph ‘Minthe’. His jealous wife, Persephone, cast a spell on Minthe, turning her into a plant that she trampled upon. Unable to reverse the spell, Pluto was able to give his beloved a smell that became stronger the more it was stepped on. The smell of course was the classic menthol dominant scent of peppermint.
The mint family includes basil, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, sage, rosemary and thyme. Most commonly known and used is spearmint and peppermint.
The benefits of mint aromatically and medicinally are almost identical to basil; however the classic mint aroma from the stronger menthol oils, provide the more powerful effects on calming a gut that is inflamed or in spasm, and the cool, stimulating effect on the skin and to the taste. The effect of menthol on the skin can be used as a mild analgesic and frequently added to muscle creams. The antibacterial and cleansing effects are commonly used as full flavoured oral hygiene products.
The terpine ‘perillyl alcohol’ in mint, has anti-tumour properties and ‘rosmarinic acid’ is particularly good as an anti-inflammatory agent for the airways. Mint also contains omega 3 oils, Vit A. C, E and K, Folic acid, Vit B2, Iron, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese and Calcium.
In green smoothies, mint goes well with:
Mint growing and storage
Anyone who has grown mint knows it can grow like a weed! Its root system will spread and new shoots will continue to pop up, if left uncontained it will creep. You can contain mint in pots however they do tend to get pot bound and are not as healthy compared to growing in the ground. If you have the room, plant mint, as it is so very versatile as a culinary herb, adding such wonderful taste and flavour to many dishes including green smoothies!
Mint can last all year round, however it can die off over winter in areas with cooler climates. If it does, cut it back and it will come back each spring. If you buy mint, keep the leaves on the stems, wash it gently and let it air dry without it going limp. Store in a tea towel lined container in the fridge and it should last up to 5-7 days.
In part three, I will discuss the herb coriander.