Mint is one of my favourite herbs. It is super easy to grow, smells beautiful, has a multitude of uses and it’s also good for you…
Here’s my go to list of fun (and delicious) things you and your kids can do with mint:
Dip it in chocolate. Pick a handful or so of large mint leaves, wash well and gently dry with some paper towel. Melt some quality chocolate in a small saucepan and using tongs, have your children dip the mint leaves one at a time into the chocolate until lightly coated. Place them on some baking paper and pop into the fridge until the chocolate has reset. Eat. You will find they are totally irresistible.
Make some mint tea. Simply pluck a few leaves from the plant, crush them ever so slightly and steep in boiling water for a few minutes until infused. Add a little honey and a squeeze of lemon juice for a deliciously tangy and refreshing drink. It can be drunk hot or cold. You could add a few pieces of sliced strawberry if you wished. The added bonus is that mint is great for your digestion. It can help alleviate indigestion, bloating and gas; assist with effective digestion; calm a tummy and it freshens your breath.
Make a Tussie Mussie. These simple herbal, edible posies are a delight to make and give as gifts to teachers, grandparents or other special people in your child’s life. My daughter and I made a quick tutorial video on how to assemble tussie mussie’s, which you can watch here.
Make some herb sugar. This delightful concoction will last for months in a cool pantry. It can be used to sprinkle over desserts (especially tasty over fruit salad), rim a glass of cordial or a cocktail and is also a quirky addition when sprinkled over salads. Have your children put 2-3 tablespoons or raw sugar and a large handful of mint into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Will make about a jar’s worth. Et voila! Herb sugar. You can also use other herbs such as coriander, lemon verbena, culinary lavender and basil, to name but a few.
Shred some mint over some boiled baby potatoes, carrots and zucchini, add a good knob of butter some salt and pepper and mash the lot slightly. I’ve never known a kid not to devour this simple goodness.
Make your own mint sauce. Kids under 6 will need help with this. Kids 6+ can have a go by themselves.
They will need:
- 1 cup of finely chopped mint
- 2-3 tsp of raw sugar
- 1/2 cup of water
- 3/4 cup white wine vinegar
Place all the ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Take off the heat, let cool and pour into a sterilised glass jar. This will keep in the fridge for months.
Let the kids have a go at Caro’s Goddess Sauce… It is likely to become a staple in your cooking armoury.
Try this refreshing and delicious watermelon, mint and halloumi salad. Kids 6+ can have a go at making this by themselves. Simply cut up seedless watermelon into bite sized chunks and arrange on a plate, top with some thinly sliced red onion, some pan-fried halloumi cheese and sprinkle with mint leaves. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a crack of black pepper. Delicious!
Make a rainbow salad. You’ll need capsicum, radish, rocket or lettuce, a good handful of mint, carrot, a sprinkle of borage and nasturtium flowers, some raw beetroot and a few grape tomatoes. Chop or grate the veggies and put into a salad bowl. Sprinkle with the mint and the edible flowers. Make a simple dressing and serve. Such a happy, visual feast for children.
Grow some. Mint is the easiest of plants to grow. It prefers a moist, shady spot. Planted in your garden, it will attract beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies but repel the nasties such as fleas, whitefly and common houseflies. Be warned though, it will completely take over so it’s always best to grow it in pots. Be adventurous and try growing some chocolate mint, pineapple mint or apple mint.
A little bit of botanical information for you. Mint or Mentha is a genus of plants from the LAMIACEAE family. Last time I looked there were about 15 identified species of mint, most of which are edible. Pennyroyal also belongs to this genus and repels fleas, but beware as it is also toxic to dogs. The most common mint is Mentha spicata or Spear Mint. It’s the one you’ll often find in gardens or for sale at your local greengrocer.
Which is your favourite herb and why?
Until next time…
For more tips, advice and ideas on how to find wonder in all you do, look out for my book “Caro & Co ~ Helping Kids find Wonder in the Everyday”, published by Sally Milner Publishing. You can preorder via the link in my sidebar above or it’s available from 01 December at all good bookstores and online. For interview opportunities please contact Jackie Evans on 0407 776 222 or email@example.com