Does this sound familiar? You decided you were going to garden (go, you!) and you thought, hey, I like mint, so you planted mint in your garden. Little did you know it spreads like a weed and would take over your basil (no pesto!) and your cilantro (sorry, guacamole…). Your mint crop was so successful, you could harvest several pounds of it if you liked. (Tip for next year: grow it in a pot!)
Quit stressing. First of all, mint dries extremely well. You can use a dehydrator if you have one (it's the most efficient way to uniformly dry herbs). Easier yet, you can simply hang mint in bunches from the stems in a dark place until it is brittle to the touch, five to 10 days. To protect the herbs from dust while drying, enclose them in a paper bag with holes punched in it. Store in an airtight jar in a dark spot, then crumble just before using.
Mint is also delicious fresh, in a variety of recipes. Here are a few to help you make a dent in your mint crop:
Lemon-Mint Sorbet: This super-tangy sorbet is a perfect refreshing end to a late-summer meal.
Linguine with Tomato-Mint Sauce: A touch of lemon juice and fresh mint livens up jarred marinara sauce in this quick and healthy pasta dish.
Romaine Salad with Chicken, Apricots & Mint: This bright and summery entree salad, which uses a savory apricot puree as both marinade and dressing, makes a refreshing change from the standby Chicken Caesar. The salad also works well with sliced peaches or nectarines.
Minted Peas & Rice with Feta: The flavors of fresh mint and feta enliven this instant brown rice. Toss any leftovers with some cooked shrimp for a satisfying, easy lunch.
Mint Pesto: This yummy mint pesto is super-easy and super-delicious-try it on slices of vine-ripened tomatoes with some crumbled goat cheese and garlic-rubbed crusty bread or on top of a grilled lamb burger.
Active time: 20 minutes | Total: 20 Minutes
1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves (1-2 bunches)
3/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves (1-2 bunches)
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 large clove garlic, quartered
1/4 teaspoon salt
Place all ingredients in a food processor; pulse a few times, then process until fairly smooth, or to the desired consistency, scraping down the sides occasionally.
Makes about 1 cup.
Per 2-tablespoon serving: 70 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 5 g mono); 0 mg cholesterol; 2 g carbohydrate; 1 g protein; 1 g fiber; 75 mg sodium; 86 mg potassium.
By Carolyn Malcoun
When associate editor Carolyn Malcoun came to Vermont to attend New England Culinary Institute, she knew she didn't want to work in a restaurant but knew that she wanted to do something in the food industry. Luckily she discovered EatingWell, where she's able to combine her love of food and writing.
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