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home > food & wine dictionary > mint

Food and Wine Dictionary


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 mint 

Long a symbol of hospitality, Greek mythology claims that mint was once the nymph Mentha. She angered Pluto's wife Persephone, who turned her into this aromaticherb. There are over 30 species of mint, the two most popular and widelyavailable being peppermint and spearmint. Peppermint is the more pungentof the two. It has bright green leaves, purple-tinged stems and a peppery flavor.Spearmint leaves are gray-green or true green and have a milder flavor andfragrance. Mint grows wild throughout the world and is cultivated in Europe, theUnited States and Asia. It's most plentiful during summer months but many marketscarry it year-round. Choose leaves that are evenly colored with no sign ofwilting. Store a bunch of mint, stems down, in a glass of water with a plasticbag over the leaves. Refrigerate in this manner for up to a week, changing thewater every 2 days. Mint is used in both sweet and savory dishes and in drinkssuch as the famous MINT JULEP.Mint is available fresh, dried, as an EXTRACT, and in the form of oil ofspearmint or oil of peppermint, both highly concentrated flavorings.Most forms can usually be found in supermarkets. See also  HERBS; HERB AND SPICE CHART.

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Material adapted from the The New Food Lover's Companion

© Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on
THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition, by Sharon Tyler Herbst.


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