Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wild Mint and Linden flowers.

There are few things to cool a hot summers day like th' refreshing taste of mint. We've got quite a few wild mints around these parts, and while most of them are about as weedy tasting as minty, one of them really is minty enough to compete with any store bought mint variety- Mentha Arvensis.

mentha arvensis

Don't get me wrong, i appreciate all th' mints, but this one is like eating a candy cane, with very little of that "planty" taste that goes along with the other mints. Just before and during flowering these plants are often covered in tiny cystals- natural menthol. Just touching them will make your hands smell like mint for quite some time.

Here's a couple of photos of our most common mint, catnip. Catnip, or cat mint if you'd rather, is pretty good dried, and has all th' medicinal qualities common to th' mints. We snack on these as we find them, but due to our proximity to more minty mints, rarely gather more than we can eat on th' spot.

young catnip
And here's a photo taken on th' same day, a more mature patch.



 But back to Mentha Arvensis, or simply "wild mint", as we refer to it. It is usually found growing near water. Around here all th' ones i've found have been growing along irrigation ditches, amongst grass that likes to cut you. So this year i've added a sickle to my harvesting arsenal, which helps me get down into the ditch and harvest with a tool instead of bare arms. A few less scratches to deal with.


We like to add these mints fresh to a bottle of cold sparkling water, especially while picking. They also make a great salad addition, see our post on purslane and mint for that one. But in our summer heat, they begin to wilt fast. As soon as they, or any plant for that matter, begin wilting, you want to let it dry fully before using it. Wilting plants are going through chemical changes that can make you sick, some more so than others. So we'll fill a basket, then take 'em home and spread them out on a flat basket to dry in th' shade, which usually happens within two days around here. After that we separate th' stems from th' leaves, and flowers if there are any, and keep 'em in a jar in th' tea cupboard. It's easy to harvest a years supply so we just leave it at that and let th' bees have at th' rest of it, as it makes flowers well into late summer, when flowers are getting scace. No need to take from th' bees in our want, when there's plenty for both of us.

mentha arvensis with flowers.

And now i will share with you our secret recipe for th' best evening tea you'll ever taste. Mix equal parts mint and linden flower, and two or three slices of dried licorice root. Brew till it's drinkable, then enjoy. Any kind of mint can be substituted for m. arvensis, and when we run out of linden flowers we use chamomile. And of course you can buy licorice root at most health food stores, but we like to use th' wild licorice which is so prevalent around here. We also likes to drink th' linden flowers by themselves as tea. It's a really pleasant brew, and th' flowers open up in th' cup to please th' eyes as well. Beth says it really helped her sore throat- and i believe her. So go ahead, try some. All we are saying is give mint a chance.

linden flower tea
And here's some for you!



~Rico

3 comments:

  1. i'll have a cup of the linden flower, No mint Please:)
    mMmm! Lovely!
    Thank You!
    & Thanks for sharing with our Bee Buddies!

    Blessings & Buzz'z
    *k

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  2. Trekking in Nepal Himalaya comment

    Waooo we have a lot in our mountain too , we use it for medicine which is very nice for the body message .

    ReplyDelete