Mint is a favourite herb of mine in the summer time because of how nicely it mixes with a little lime, simple syrup, soda, and Bacardi. Although that seems to be a favourite consumption method of mine, I love to use it in unexpected ways because of its health properties, and amazing fresh, fragrant flavour. Luckily, Cookville Community Farm & Garden has loads of gorgeous mint currently available (alongside other delicious herbs) and will for weeks to come!
Mint has been used for hundreds, maybe thousands of years because of its believed soothing properties. The extract from these leaves are thought to have a positive effect on upset stomachs and indigestion, aiding discomfort from gas or bloating. As an added bonus, the cooling sensation of mint can remedy adverse effects of nausea or an upset stomach. This makes mint an excellent addition to the diets of people that face chronic nausea (maybe a patient undergoing chemotherapy, or intense migraines) or those that maybe get a little too carried away with the products from vendors like Wynnwood Cellars, if you catch my drift. A lovely cup of peppermint tea does the trick, but I’m all about taking products from market vendors and incorporating them into my go-to dishes.
Because mint has such an impactful flavour on its own, it can be used to season dishes that might typically rely on salt or sugar to amp up the taste. For example, adding some mint leaves to a bundle of mixed greens in a salad creates an intense flavour profile, without relying on a high-sodium-high-fat dressing to bring the salad to a gourmet level. I love to make a simple salad with this greens mixture, some fruit for sweetness, veggies for crunch, quinoa or beans for some protein and toasted nuts for a rich fatty flavour, I then dress it with a little lemon juice, pepper, and olive oil, and I’m good to go. Any combination of these core ingredients makes for a great lunch.
My absolute go-to way to have mint is in a green smoothie. I’m sure every fitness guru and instagram model and human being under the sun has their own take on a green smoothie, and I can’t help but add to the hype with a recipe of my own. Once again, using mint adds a complexity to the smoothie that distracts from any “vegetable like” flavour, without added sugar from honey or maple syrup that some recipes may call for. I make my basic green smoothie like so:
- 2 handfuls of greens (spinach and kale are faves, but I’ll use any spring mix I have on hand)
- 3/4 cup frozen fruit (I love peach, pineapple, and mango for their texture once blended, but berries are delicious as well)
- 1/2 banana
- 1/2 avocado (this acts as a high fat, creamy binder instead of yogurt or another sugary base)
- 4-5 mint leaves
- 1/2 cup (or more) liquid to blend (almond milk is a go to, but water works in a pinch, or a natural fruit juice to add flavour and up the fruit/vegetable serving in your day)
I mix these ingredients in a blender adding liquid as need be. This basic recipe makes a wonderful addition to breakfast, key word – addition. To meet the typical bodily demands for a day, this smoothie should be drunk alongside oatmeal or eggs or some other high protein food to ensure the best start for a day. However, if I am in a rush (which I almost always am), and really only have time to take a smoothie to go, a few ingredients can be added to bulk this baby up. I love to add about 1/3 cup of oats to introduce some bulkier fibre-rich carbs, as well as protein, and maybe 2 tablespoons of seeds (hemp, flax or chia – whatever I have on hand) to add healthy fats in addition to the avocado. I find the simple introduction of this pair, gives the smoothie some girth, and my appetite some longevity.
There are plenty of ways to add this herb into your diet, and reap the benefits of a settled digestive system! Don’t be afraid to experiMINT 😉
In Good Food,
Reede Hawton -Nutrition Rep