10 Reasons Why You Should Grow Peppermint

Peppermint should be a staple herb in every ones household. For it adds a refreshing crispness to a number of food and beverage recipes, can be enjoyed as a tea, and has a plethora of health benefits. Peppermint is also easy to grow, and will reap a bountiful harvest, year after year.

 

1. Easy to Grow

If you have always wanted to start a herb garden (or any type of garden), but shy away from executing any plans to do so, because you feel like you lack a green thumb, then you should try growing peppermint as one of your first experiments.

Peppermint is a herb that is great for first time gardeners (unlike its relative cilantro, who can be very temperamental, and needs just the right growing conditions), because it is an easy plant to grow, and grows in abundance.

It is recommended to grow peppermint in pots, because it is an invasive plant, that can take over your whole garden if not kept under control.

Peppermint can also be kept indoors. Just be sure to keep it near a well-lit window, and water if the soil seems dry.

 

2. Makes Delicious Fresh Water Infusion

 

There is nothing more refreshing on a hot day, than to enjoy a nice cool glass of water that has been infused with peppermint (and other fruits or citrus).

Currently, I have two big pots full of peppermint plants next to the steps going up to my front porch, so that it is not only one of the first things I smell when walking by, but also to entice me to grab a few sprigs to take into the house with me.

After gathering a few sprigs, I then get out my glass pitcher, and fill it with the fresh peppermint, along with any other fruit I may have on hand that blends well with peppermint. A couple of my favorite infusions so far, is peppermint lime, and watermelon with peppermint.

Next, I fill the rest of the pitcher with either plain soda water (if I’m feeling like a little bubbly), or regular drinking water.

Cover the pitcher with Saran wrap, then place in the refrigerator to let it do it cool for at least an hour.

Pour, and enjoy!

Water infusions are especially great for offering a refreshing, healthy beverage when entertaining guests.

3. Helps Repel Mosquitoes

Another reason why I like to plant peppermint in pots around my front porch, is because peppermint is one of many outdoor plants that repel mosquitoes.

There is something about the aroma of peppermint, that is repulsive to mosquitoes, and acts as a deterrent.

You can even make your own homemade bug spray, by taking a few peppermint leaves and crushing them up, to release the oils within, then rub it on different areas of your body. This method does work against repelling mosquitoes, but must be reapplied regularly if it is a hot day, and causing you to sweat a good bit.

4. Stimulates the Brain

There have been a few scientific studies done which proved that the aroma of peppermint, can help raise alertness and memory retention.

This is true, because the smell of peppermint, increases oxygen levels within the blood, which raises alertness, and it also stimulates the hippocampus part of the brain, which is where new memories are formed, and directly linked to our emotions and learning abilities.

Ingesting peppermint, does not seem to have the same effect on stimulating the brain, as the aroma does.

It may be greatly beneficial for you to have a little peppermint oil on hand for your next big test, or company meeting.

5. Make Homemade Tea

If you are someone who enjoys drinking peppermint tea (or prefers to drink it for health benefits), then you can add a little more to your piggy bank, by making your own from freshly grown peppermint.

There are a couple of ways you can make your own tea. One way, is to steep fresh clippings for roughly 3-5 minutes (depending on your strength preference), then sip and enjoy. You can increase your antioxidant intake by adding a slice or two of fresh lemon to your tea, and if you would like to kick it up another notch and help with your digestive tract, then throw a teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar into your brew as well.

If you find yourself with an overabundant amount of peppermint, then you can dry/dehydrate it, so that you can use it later for making tea.

6. Aids in Digestion

Peppermint has been used for centuries to help ease digestive discomfort. The aroma of peppermint alone activates the salivary glands and other glands that contribute to secreting the digestive enzymes within your stomach. So it can be greatly beneficial to drink a glass of peppermint tea following a large meal.

According to these two scientific studies testing the benefits of peppermint tea and peppermint oil for the treatment of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), the results showed a significant difference of improvement for the test subjects consuming peppermint tea/oil, over the test subjects taking a placebo (1),(2).

Peppermint is great if you are feeling a bit nauseous, or suffering from motion sickness, for it helps ease the stomach in the same way ginger root does.

 

7. Can Improve Common Cold Symptoms

 

There is nothing worse than coming down with a cold, that may cause you discomfort for a number of weeks.

Peppermint naturally has antibacterial properties, and is also a powerhouse of antioxidants, which will help fight off free radicals within the body, and aid in boosting the immune system.

Hot peppermint tea is especially soothing for a sore throat, while the aroma of peppermint can help in reducing congestion.

8. Freshens Breath

The menthol in peppermint is great for killing bad odors and bacteria within your mouth, giving you fresh breath, and a boost of confidence to with it.

It’s as simple as grabbing a couple mint leaves from your plant as you walk by, and toss them in your mouth to chew on them for a bit, or let them rest under your tongue.

You can also muddle or crush the leaves to release the oils, then rub the oils over your mouth and tongue to kill off odor causing bacteria.

9. Great for Cooking With

 

There are a plethora of recipes and methods that call for fresh mint, for it has been widely used throughout culinary history to be more than just a pretty garnish at the top of a dish.

Below you will find a wide variety of suggestions, that will hopefully spark your creative juices.

Mint can be utilized in many baked goods and deserts, such as mint chocolate ice cream (pictured above), lemon mint curd, cakes, pies, tarts, mint jelly, and popsicles.

It can also be paired with or added to yogurt, smoothies, salads, chicken, pork and lamb dishes, fish, pestos, bruschetta, dips, salsas, butter infusions, vegetable sautés, fruit salads, spritzers, and whatever else your creativity can come up with.

10. Make a Mojito Cocktail

Fresh mint is a staple ingredient for creating this Cuban originated, fresh tasting cocktail, that is greatly enjoyed during the spring and summer months.

If you are not familiar with a mojito cocktail, the traditional ingredients and method of preparation consist of fresh mint, fresh lime wedges, white rum, simple syrup (made with equal parts of sugar and hot water to dissolve the crystals), soda water, and a splash of sprite (optional).

You can alter a mojito in many ways to suit your preferences; with various fruit options, swapping out the white rum for another light alcohol, and/or substituting another sweetener, such as stevia (which does not spike glucose levels the way sugar does), for the simple syrup.

However you prefer to mix up your mojito, one thing is for certain, and that is that you will find it hard to stop at just drinking one, so please drink responsibly, and plan accordingly.

Below, you will find some of my favorite mojito recipes for you to try making them in the comfort of your own home, with your own fresh ingredients.

 

Note: Each one of these recipes can easily be made non-alcoholic, simply by omitting the white rum portion of the recipe.

 

Mojito Drink Recipes

 

Traditional Mojito Recipe

  • Approximately 5-10 fresh mint leaves (depends on your preference, and size of the leaves)
  • 2-3 cut lime wedges
  • 1 ½ ounces of light rum
  • Approximately 1 teaspoon of simple syrup (more, or less, depending on how sweet you would like it. You can also substitute the syrup for your preference of sweetener)
  • Plain soda water
  • Sprite (optional)
  1. Begin by muddling the mint and lime wedges in a glass or shaker tin to release the oils and juices.
  2. Next, add your rum, followed by the simple syrup (or substitute sweetener).
  3. Fill the rest of the glass with soda water, pour mixture into another cup, or shaker tin, then return the mixture to the original glass.
  4. Add a splash of sprite (optional) to the top.
  5. Garnish with fresh mint and a lime wedge resting on the rim of the glass.

Strawberry Mojito Cocktail

  • Approximately 5-10 fresh mint leaves (depends on your preference, and size of the leaves)
  • 2-3 fresh sliced strawberries (can also use frozen, if fresh is not an option)
  • 2-3 cut lime wedges
  • 1 ½ ounces of light rum
  • Approximately 1 teaspoon of simple syrup (more, or less, depending on how sweet you would like it. You can also substitute the syrup for your preference of sweetener)
  • Plain soda water
  • Sprite (optional)

 

  1. Begin by muddling the mint, strawberries, and lime wedges in a glass or shaker tin to release the oils and juices.
  2. Next, add your rum, followed by the simple syrup (or substitute sweetener).
  3. Fill the rest of the glass with soda water, pour mixture into another cup (or shaker tin), run a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, dip the rim in sugar (optional), then return the mixture into the now sugar rimmed (optional) glass.
  4. Add a splash of sprite (optional) to the top.
  5. Garnish with fresh mint, sliced strawberry, and a lime wedge resting on the rim of the glass.

Peach Mojito Cocktail

  • Approximately 5-10 fresh mint leaves (depends on your preference, and size of the leaves)
  • 2-3 pieces of fresh sliced peaches (can also use thawed frozen, if fresh is not an option)
  • 2-3 cut lime wedges
  • 1 ½ ounces of light rum
  • Approximately 1 teaspoon of simple syrup (more, or less, depending on how sweet you would like it. You can also substitute the syrup for your preference of sweetener)
  • Plain soda water
  • Sprite (optional)

 

  1. Begin by muddling the mint, peaches, and lime wedges in a glass or shaker tin to release the oils and juices.
  2. Next, add your rum, followed by the simple syrup (or substitute sweetener).
  3. Fill the rest of the glass with soda water, pour mixture into another cup (or shaker tin), run a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, dip the rim in sugar (optional), then return the mixture into the now sugar rimmed (optional) glass.
  4. Add a splash of sprite (optional) to the top.
  5. Garnish with fresh mint, peach slice, and a lime wedge resting on the rim of the glass.

 

Watermelon Mojito Recipe

  • Approximately 5-10 fresh mint leaves (depends on your preference, and size of the leaves)
  • 2-3 cubes of fresh watermelon
  • 2-3 cut lime wedges
  • 1 ½ ounces of light rum
  • Approximately 1 teaspoon of simple syrup (more, or less, depending on how sweet you would like it. You can also substitute the syrup for your preference of sweetener)
  • Plain soda water
  • Sprite (optional)

 

  1. Begin by muddling the mint, watermelon, and lime wedges in a glass or shaker tin to release the oils and juices.
  2. Next, add your rum, followed by the simple syrup (or substitute sweetener).
  3. Fill the rest of the glass with soda water, pour mixture into another cup (or shaker tin), run a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, dip the rim in sugar (optional), then return the mixture into the now sugar rimmed (optional) glass.
  4. Add a splash of sprite (optional) to the top.
  5. Garnish with fresh mint, and a lime wedge resting on the rim of the glass.

 

Awe Peppermint, Such A Refreshing Treat

By now, I’m sure you can see the many useful benefits peppermint has to offer. One of my favorites, is grabbing a little sprig as I’m walking by my peppermint plant, for nothing more than to enjoy the refreshing fragrance of the peppermint plant, and freshen my breath in the process with little nibbles here and there.

With proper care, peppermint can be enjoyed throughout the year, and will only continue to grow larger with each passing year.

Listed above is only a handful of ways to utilize peppermint, would love to hear some of your favorite uses if you could please share them in the comments below.

Happy growing!

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