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Harvesting mint

Is there a certain time to harvest mint so it tastes better? I started to chew on a leaf and it was bitter and gross!
 
Usually - and this is my experience - the better tasting leaves are the younger ones, near the growing tips. The bigger, and much darker leaves near the middle or bottom of the stalk are bitter and tasteless. Frowner
 
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I kinda sorta agree with Chris J.

An old Herbalist tale is to pick herbs during the "Midsummer" season the get the best flavor and most oils in your herhs.

I typically pick the tops parts. Are you using the mint fresh or dried? I think the dried herbs "distribute" the oils over the whole part that has been harvested. But using fresh.. The oils are in the tips of the plants. I find that the best mint tea is made when using equal parts of Spearmint and Peppermint..
 
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Well no wonder! Here I am picking the biggest darkest leaves thinking they'll be delicious and Eeker YUCK!
Thanks guys! Now if I wanted to use some in a drink, do I put individual leaves in or snip a stem and leave it all together. How big should it be? Can you tell this is my first "herb" year? Big Grin
 
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I always remove all the stem and just use the leaves in my teas. So far, I haven't made any other drinks. I have a lot of different mint plants so I might have to be a little more creative to use them so they don't take over their pots too quickly.
 
Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn't people feel as free to delight in whatever sunlight remains to them? -Rose Kennedy (1890 - 1995)
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When I sold mint to restaurants to add to tea, I picked the top 5-6 inches of the herb to make a nice looking presentation in a standard tea glass. So I think that should work. I've picked them 7"-10" tall for mint Juleps for restaurants and bars on Derby Day, but I think it's more about the Bourbon than the MINT!
 
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I harvest all mint in early summer and dry it for teas. Never did like fresh mint.
 
good gardening, good luck, DD
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I've picked mint from pure established varieties from the bottom up - any size leaf - without any difference in flavor. The biggest question here is: what variety of mint are you growing?

When herb gardening really took off back in the '70's, everybody & his brother started growing & hybridizing them. One of the easiest was the mint family. Thus, there are so many "mutt" mints out there today that it's hard to throw a stick without hitting one. In fact, for the past 11 years I've been marginally successfully rooting out some sort of "mutt" mint that the original homeowner planted around the house. What a nightmare!!

Anyway, the only way to ensure that you'll have flavorful mint from bottom to top is to grow specific varieties that you've tasted & know you like. While you obviously can't taste-test online purchases & have to take their word as to variety, you should definitely pinch/smell/taste plants at nurseries before buying. Plants labeled simply "Spearmint" or "Peppermint" could be absolutely anything in the long run - & that long run could end up being a long, LONG run.
 

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I agree w/ BG regarding taste. But of course, the young leaves are more tender so that, IMO, makes them better to use.

I didn't really start appreciating fresh mint until I sampled it in really fine Greek, Turkish, Lebanese and Vietnamese food. If you've never had any DirtDaddy, you don't know what you're missing.
 
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In my cooking, I never did like fresh spearmint, but never had anything else to use.Perhaps I'll give an asian dish another go around.
Our lemon mint is doing well this year, can u cook with that, like as a lemon subsitute?
 
good gardening, good luck, DD
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That lemon mint wold be worth trying in those Vietnamese and other SE Asian dishes that also have lemongrass, since a lemon flavor is part of them. I have also seen lemon basil in some Malaysian recipes, but I just increased the lemongrass or added a little, since I didn't have any.This is what most of my patch of mint goes into, but even those recipes calling for 1 cup of mint leaves don't put a dent in it!

Dave
 

Dave    in Woodbury, NJ  zone 6B

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Although I harvest and dry small amounts of mint throughout the summer, I do my main harvest when the first blossom bud appears. At that point, I cut the whole bed, leaving an inch or two on most stalks. It grows back quickly, and I get a second crop by the end of summer.
 
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EricaH
I was taught my an extension service class that you should pick herbs after the dew dries, but before the sun is high (11am or the heat kicks in) and make sure you harvest before it blooms. I wait until my mint is 8-10 inches tall and cut it back to 2-3 inches tall to help it branch and regrow shrubbier. I get about 2-4 crops each year depending on how hot the summer is. I use mine shopped fresh to flavor fruit salads and whipped cream. I use it fresh or dried mint to make a Mint Lime Sauce which is a traditional Christmas gift for my family and friends. Cooking Ligh did a mint feature spring of 2005 there were several great mint recipes including a scallops with mint chimichurri and a fudgy fallen mint soufle.
 
It's only a weed if you can't use it!
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Woh! At a time you do two time harvesting. Amazing.
 
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Nice forums here, but still trying to learn how to add buddies, chat, etc. I've had some pretty good results growing mints up here in the U.P. of Michigan. I like to like to lay them on a screen to dry. ericah, where in MI are you located?
 
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quote:
Originally posted by DonMichUP:
Nice forums here, but still trying to learn how to add buddies, chat, etc.


Welcome to the forums. "Buddies and chat" are not functions of this forum. Pretty much if you want to say something, say it here.

Wayne
 

Adirondackgardener

Mainegardener

Trying out Northeast PA.

 

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Hello Wayne, and thank you. I guess the confusion was that under our profiles there are options for chat and PM's, and the help files talk about chat, buddies, etc. That's ok tho... there's a wealth on information in these forums, and I hope to contribute as well. Now, off to collect some lemon balm and trim transplant some mints Smiler.
 
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Don-
I live between Detroit and Lansing.
Do you grow any of your mint in pots? If so, how do you overwinter them?
 
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I have a mini field of lemon mint - I can't detect a lemony flavor to it at all. I bought it as a tiny plant 5 years ago at a farmers market and now it covers about 5x4 feet.

I make a lot of green smoothies with them, so I can use 2-3 cups of mint a day sometimes. And I give away and I've let a lot rot too! It is onlyt crowding out less desirable weeds, so no problem with it's invasiveness now.

ericah - I planted that little mint, was in an accident, and didn't get back to really trying to garden till this year. It took off all on it's own with no help whatsoever, surrounded by burdock, but the burdock couldn't squeeze it out. I'm in chicago - I don't think you need to do anything special to it. JMHO based on my experiences...
 
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I got some chocolate mint about 6 years ago, which had a wonderful chocolate scent the first year, but the second year just a little was left, and after that, none. Maybe this is common for all of these to loose the aroma after the first year or so. Mine is peppermint, and does not grow nearly as well as the spearmint, which has taken over about a 8'x3 1/2' bed (where I put it because it is surrounded by concrete!).

Dave
 

Dave    in Woodbury, NJ  zone 6B

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