October 22, 2021 4 min read
Who doesn’t love peppermint! We can find it adds to almost all of our favorite snacks, beverages, and even add it ourselves to enhance the flavor of smoothies, ice cream, and tea. We can find peppermint-flavored and scented items everywhere we go. From foods to soaps, and perfumes to toothpaste, peppermint is an international success.
The use of plants for their benefits has a long and deep history throughout the world and peppermint is no exception. Plants have always been used to flavor food and beverages, used as a scent, and used for medical potions, as well.
Early records show peppermint growing and being used in Mediterranean and Northern Africa for food preparation and medical uses. It would have been crushed and added to food or applied directly to the skin.
Peppermint contains a high level of menthol which makes it stand out from all other species. People enjoyed the strong scent, so it was used among many other things, for embalmed bodies in Egypt.
The leaves were chewed to calm down upset stomachs and to help ease the pain from tooth decay. It didn’t take long for its popularity to spread quickly. The hearty plant is easy to grow and it grows very quickly. It spread to other countries and they each cultivated the plants that worked best for their own climate and tastes.
Today, it is still used as a flavor enhancement, for aliments, and beauty products. It is still grown worldwide and used to ease upset stomachs and nervous minds.
There are several plants that all belong to the mint family. Collectively known as mint or mentha, most will taste and smell the same but with slight differences.
Spearmint, peppermint, and mint are the ones we most commonly see. Peppermint has the strongest taste and scent, which comes from the menthol in them all.
When eating peppermint in any form, you will taste a strong sweetness with a cooling sensation. It is actually a combination of spearmint and watermint, which is now grown as a hybrid.
When it is growing, it gets tiny pink flowers that appear in a cluster. If you have ever added a mint plant of any kind, like catnip to your garden, you know how well they can spread and take over the space quickly.
You can also grow peppermint in your window at home and pluck a few leaves off when you need them. If you have cats, make sure they can’t reach it or they will eat it down in one go.
If you like to buy fresh peppermint or grow your own plants, there are plenty of ways to enjoy their freshness. Tear off a few leaves and toss them to your salad, your smoothie, in baking like cookies or cakes, in ice cubes, and for hot or cold tea.
If you are using dried leaves for tea, put them in a diffuser tea ball or your own bags to enjoy peppermint tea. You can have it hot or cold. For cold tea, let it steep in the fridge, pour over ice cubes, add lemon or lime, and enjoy on a hot day.
You can make tea from fresh or dried leaves. For hot tea from fresh leaves, just let the leaves steep in hot water and add some lemon or lime. You can take the leaves out if it seems too strong.
For iced peppermint tea from fresh leaves, you can make the tea from hot water, then let it cool down, leave it in the fridge over ice and lemon or lime to allow the flavor to be released.
For a stronger flavor, slightly crush or tear the fresh leaves to get more flavor out and you can also include the stocks, as well. You can let your fresh leaves and stocks dry out, crush them up and keep them in a sealed jar or container for use later.
Making peppermint tea from dried leaves is easy. You can add the amount you like. Put them in loose in a tea ball or get empty tea bags to fill yourself. This is a great way to have the perfect cup of peppermint tea every time.
Hot or cold, it’s a refreshing way to enjoy your fresh or dried peppermint. If you have leftover tea, don’t throw it out. Keep it for adding to recipes, make ice cubes with it, or pour it in your plants for nutrients and to keep bugs at bay.
For centuries, people have been using peppermint for food, for health, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ideal for any time of the year, peppermint tea is widely available but you can make your own to enjoy the natural freshness and taste.
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