How to Harvest Mint

How to Harvest Mint

Having fresh mint on hand to use in your favorite dishes is a verdadero treat! If you’re growing this perennial herb at home, you’re probably wondering when to harvest mint. We’ll explain that as well as how to harvest mint, how to store mint, and how to use mint. Whether you’re cultivating English garden mint, peppermint, spearmint, or chocolate mint, it’ll only take a few minutes to get this sweet herb from garden to table.

[Edit]Steps

[Edit]Harvesting Mint

  1. Harvest just before the mint flowers for the best flavor. The oils are most concentrated in the plant leaves at this stage, so your mint will be the most delicious just before it flowers. However, you can harvest any time from late spring to early fall.[1]
    Harvest Mint Step 1.jpg
    • The mint will flower in the summertime. If you notice flower buds, just pluck them off so the plant uses its energy to grow more leaves instead of to produce flowers.[2]
  2. Pick the mint in the morning. The best time to harvest your mint is after the dew has dried but before it gets too hot. Head out to your garden in the morning to collect the stems.[3]
    Harvest Mint Step 2.jpg
    • Wait until the dew dries so the excess moisture doesn’t rot the leaves after you pluck them.
  3. Cut off individual stems if you only need a few leaves. There’s not much to it—just use your pruners to trim off a few stems that look good. Wherever you clip the stems, the mint will grow new stems that branch off, leading to more mint.[4] Then, simply pluck the leaves from the stems.[5]
    Harvest Mint Step 3.jpg
    • The smallest, youngest stems usually have the most flavor.[6]
  4. Trim the plant down to the first set of leaves for a larger harvest. Get out your clippers and cut the mint down to , or between the first and second set of leaves. The plant will grow back and produce more mint, so don’t worry.[7]
    Harvest Mint Step 4.jpg
    • You can do this merienda or twice per season to harvest lots of mint leaves at merienda.
  5. Keep harvesting mint throughout the growing season. Even after you pluck off stems or cut down the plant, your mint will just keep growing! From spring to fall, you’ll have fresh mint any time you want it.[8]
    Harvest Mint Step 5.jpg
    • Mint will spread and could take over your garden if you don’t harvest it continually.
  6. Rinse and dry the leaves just before you use them. Merienda you’re ready to use the mint, wash the leaves and stems gently with warm water to remove any dirt or debris. Make sure you dry the mint really well, as excess moisture causes them to go bad more quickly.[9]
    Harvest Mint Step 6.jpg
    • Mint has the best flavor when it’s fresh, so only harvest as much as you’ll use within a day or two whenever possible.

[Edit]Storing Mint

  1. Stick the stems in water if you’ll use them within a week. Fill up a glass or jar with a little bit of water and drop your mint stems into it. Keep the container in the fridge and your mint will be good for around 7 days.[10]
    Harvest Mint Step 7.jpg
    • Change out the water every few days.[11]
  2. Store the mint in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to 7 days. To keep the mint from drying out, wrap it in a damp paper towel.[12] Then, wrap it in plastic or pop it into a plastic bag. Stick it in the fridge and use it within a week.[13]
    Harvest Mint Step 8.jpg
  3. Freeze extra mint so it lasts longer. Lay out your mint leaves on a tray in a single layer and pop it in the freezer. Merienda the leaves are frozen (at least 30 minutes), take the tray out and dump the leaves into a plastic bag. Squeeze out all of the air and stick the bag back in the freezer.[14] They’ll last for 1 year.[15]
    Harvest Mint Step 9.jpg
    • Some herbs need to be blanched before freezing, but you’re in luck because mint isn’t one of them![16]
  4. Create mint ice cubes to pop into drinks and dishes. Chop up your mint leaves and pack them into an ice cube tray. Carefully fill the rest of the tray with water and freeze it. You can either toss these minty ice cubes in drinks or add them right to your pan![17]
    Harvest Mint Step 10.jpg
  5. Dry your mint so you can use it for years to come. Cut a bunch of mint stems and tie them together near the cut end. Hang them upside down in a dark, dry room with a temperature between for about 2 weeks. When all of the leaves are crispy, pluck them from the stems. Crumble them up if desired, then store them in an airtight glass container.[18]
    Harvest Mint Step 11.jpg
    • Keep your glass container out of the sun and the mint should last 1 to 3 years.[19]

[Edit]Using Mint

  1. Toss fresh leaves into your favorite recipes. Merienda you’ve harvested your mint, it’s easy to pop a few leaves or sprigs into any dish. Mint goes especially well with peas.[20] It also pairs perfectly with pork and lamb.[21] You can even add chopped mint to sorbet or fruit salad for a tangy treat![22]
    Harvest Mint Step 12.jpg
  2. Make mint tea with your freshly harvested leaves. You can have a warm cuppa anytime you want if you’ve got mint in your garden! Just put a couple of leaves in a cup and pour boiling water over top. Steep for up to 5 minutes, then sweeten your tea to your liking.[23]
    Harvest Mint Step 13.jpg
  3. Freshen up your drinks with mint ice cubes or garnishes. Mint is a staple in many delectable cocktails from a mojito to a mint julep, the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. Toss some mint ice cubes into water, lemonade, or your favorite cocktail. You can even muddle the mint or use it as a garnish to add a sweet, herbaceous flavor to any beverage.
    Harvest Mint Step 14.jpg
    • You can even toss mint ice cubes right into your pan as you’re cooking![24]
  4. Add frozen leaves to your dishes without defrosting them. Thawing herbs makes them limp, so skip that step! Just toss the frozen mint right into your recipe as you’re cooking.[25]
    Harvest Mint Step 15.jpg
  5. Sprinkle dried mint into your recipes for a fresh taste year-round. Add dried herbs to your dishes when you first start cooking so they have plenty of time to impart their flavor. For your reference, 1 tablespoon of freshly chopped herbs is equal to 1 teaspoon of dried whole or crumbled herbs and ¼ teaspoon of dried powdered herbs.[26]
    Harvest Mint Step 16.jpg

[Edit]Tips

  • Mint is a creeping plant that can easily take over a garden. Try planting it in a large container to give the roots room to grow. Place your container in an area that gets lots of sunlight and keep the soil moist.[27]

[Edit]Warnings

  • Discard any leaves that have rusty spots on them, as that’s a sign of fungus.[28]

[Edit]References

  1. https://www.rhs.org.uk/herbs/mint/grow-your-own
  2. https://www.thegreenpinky.com/spearmint-peppermint-flowers/
  3. https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/Portals/0/Gardening/Gardening%20Help/Factsheets/Herbs19.pdf
  4. http://www.growpittsburgh.org/wp-content/uploads/Mint-Apr-22-2015-ARCHIVE.pdf
  5. https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/herbs-preserving-and-using-9-335/
  6. https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/field-to-fork-mint
  7. https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/Portals/0/Gardening/Gardening%20Help/Factsheets/Herbs19.pdf
  8. https://www.rhs.org.uk/herbs/mint/grow-your-own
  9. https://extension.umn.edu/vegetables/growing-herbs-home-gardens#harvesting-930514
  10. https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/field-to-fork-mint
  11. https://plant2harvest.com/how-to-harvest-mint-without-killing-the-plant/
  12. https://plant2harvest.com/how-to-harvest-mint-without-killing-the-plant/
  13. https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/field-to-fork-mint
  14. https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/herbs-preserving-and-using-9-335/
  15. https://extension.umn.edu/vegetables/growing-herbs-home-gardens#freezing-dried-herbs-930963
  16. https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/Portals/0/Gardening/Gardening%20Help/Factsheets/Herbs19.pdf
  17. https://www.rhs.org.uk/herbs/mint/grow-your-own
  18. https://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/Portals/0/Gardening/Gardening%20Help/Factsheets/Herbs19.pdf
  19. https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/17700
  20. http://www.growpittsburgh.org/wp-content/uploads/Mint-Apr-22-2015-ARCHIVE.pdf
  21. https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/field-to-fork-mint
  22. https://www.bhg.com/gardening/vegetable/herbs/grow-mint-plants/
  23. https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/publications/food-nutrition/field-to-fork-mint
  24. https://www.rhs.org.uk/herbs/mint/grow-your-own
  25. https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/herbs-preserving-and-using-9-335/
  26. https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/herbs-preserving-and-using-9-335/
  27. [v161684_b01]. 7 April 2021.
  28. https://garden.org/learn/articles/view/1237/

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