What to do with Lots of Fresh Mint Leaves

Fresh mint is a favorite around here. It not only adds a burst of flavor to dishes but it’s also so good for you. If you find yourself with an abundance of this aromatic herb from your garden or local market (and trust me, that’s not hard to do – it grows like crazy), there are a ton of creative ways to incorporate it into your kitchen. 

fresh mint leaves

You can also preserve it for later use.  We’ll talk about how to do that later in this post.

If, like me, you’ve found yourself wondering what you should do with fresh garden mint, try one of the ideas below.

What to do with Fresh Mint from the Garden

1. Infused Beverages

One of the most popular uses for fresh mint is in beverages. Mint’s cool, slightly sweet flavor pairs perfectly with beverages. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Mint Tea: Brew a soothing cup of mint tea by steeping fresh mint leaves in hot water for a few minutes. Add honey and lemon to taste.
  • Mint Lemonade: Combine fresh mint leaves with freshly squeezed lemon juice, water, and a sweetener of your choice for a refreshing summer drink.
  • Mint Leave Ice Cubes: Freeze mint leaves into ice cubes for a pretty, flavorful way to drink your cold glass of water.

2. Salads

Fresh mint adds a unique flavor to salads, balancing out other flavors and textures. Try these combinations:

  • Watermelon and Feta Salad: Toss cubed watermelon, crumbled feta cheese, thinly sliced red onion, and fresh mint leaves with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  There’s plenty of recipes to try, but this one is a good one.
  • Quinoa Salad: Mix cooked quinoa with diced cucumber, cherry tomatoes, chopped fresh mint, and a lemony vinaigrette for a nutritious and flavorful side dish.  Here’s another quinoa salad you can try.

3. Flavorful Main Dishes

Incorporate fresh mint into your main courses to elevate the flavors and add complexity:

  • Mint Pesto: Blend fresh mint leaves with garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil to make a vibrant pesto sauce. Serve over pasta or grilled meats.
  • Mint Yogurt Sauce: Mix finely chopped mint leaves with plain yogurt, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Use as a condiment for grilled kebabs or as a dip for vegetables.

4. Desserts and Sweets

Don’t overlook mint when it comes to desserts. Its bright flavor can enhance a variety of sweet treats:

  • Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream: Add chopped fresh mint leaves to your favorite homemade or store-bought chocolate chip ice cream recipe for a refreshing twist.
  • Minty Fruit Salad: Combine diced fresh fruit such as strawberries, kiwi, and pineapple with chopped mint leaves and a drizzle of honey for a light and flavorful dessert.

5. Preservation and Storage

To make the most of your fresh mint haul, consider preserving it for future use:

  • Freezing: Chop fresh mint leaves and freeze them in ice cube trays filled with water or olive oil. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for easy use in cooking.
  • Drying: Hang fresh mint sprigs upside down in a cool, dry place until they are completely dried. Once dried, store the leaves in an airtight container for use in teas and seasoning blends.  This is my favorite way to preserve mint because I use most of my mint for tea.  I can easily grab some dried tea leaves, put them in a tea ball, and steep.  I store mine in a mason jar.

6. Growing Your Own Mint

For a constant supply of fresh mint, consider growing it in your garden or in containers:

  • Easy to Grow: Mint is a hardy herb that thrives in various conditions, though it prefers moist, well-drained soil and partial shade.  
  • Containment: Due to its vigorous growth, plant mint in containers to prevent it from overtaking your garden.  This is how I grow my mint because I don’t want it to overtake my vegetables.

Mint is the Herb you want to Grow

Mint is pretty easy to grow so if you are a new gardener it can really boost your gardening self-esteem!  There are also different variations of mint.  In my garden you will find chocolate mint.  I’d love to tell you it tastes like chocolate, but unfortunately, I don’t find it does.  It does seem to have a slight chocolatey smell.

Some other types of mint are spearmint, orange mint, pineapple mint, and even a margarita mint.  These are a just a few of the types of mint you can grow.  How do you pick?  Well, personally, I just grow the mint I find at my local greenhouse.  I live in a small town and there’s only so many choices to pick from.  

There are a few types of mint that are toxic so make sure you are buying your edible mint from a reputable source that you can trust.

I love growing mint because there’s always something you can use it for and it’s the one type of tea everyone seems to like.  I love a good cup of mint tea when I have a headache or a stomach ache.  It’s calmed many digestive issues in my home.

So, if you have plenty of mint, hopefully the above ideas will help you use it up!

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