Who doesn’t like the smell of mint? I certainly do. In fact, the last thing I do after cleaning the house, is spritz a little peppermint essential oil in each room to signify the cleaning is done! I have always had mint growing in my yard because I love to put fresh mint leaves in drinks like iced tea and lemonade. I also like to scatter some chopped mint on a fruit salad.
I had never really thought about mint in any other way than using it in the kitchen or as a fragrance until I saw a show on TV about a large mint farm in Michigan where they grow acres and acres of spearmint and peppermint. There is a strong market for their crop which is used to flavor a wide assortment of products. It is used in baking, candy making, coffee, cocoa and many other products.
The oil extracted from mint through a steam distillation process is highly concentrated. One pound will flavor 135,000 sticks of gum! The organic compounds in mint, mainly menthol and carvone, give mint the taste and aroma that makes it a favorite for chewing gum, toothpaste, candy and medicine. The two main mint plants, spearmint and peppermint are believed to have originated in the Mediterranean Basin where their main uses were for fragrance and flavoring, especially in medicinal products.
Mint may have potential health benefits such as help to soothe an upset stomach, reduce inflammation and reduce symptoms of asthma and the common cold. There are also some studies that found that consuming mint might promote brain health and may be able to treat some Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Since it is the holiday season, and you can buy a box of peppermint candy canes for $1, I decided to search for some recipes using peppermint. The Taste of Home website has a good selection of peppermint recipes.
- Red Velvet Peppermint Thumbprint Cookies – You make them with all the regular cookies ingredients plus baking cocoa, white baking chips and crushed peppermint candies.
- Frozen Peppermint Delight – This could not be any easier! You use crushed Oreos for the crust, peppermint ice cream for the filling and frozen whipped topping for the finish. You can make this ahead. When you are ready to serve, drizzle with hot fudge topping and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies.
- Peppermint Kisses – These are “fun, refreshing and low in fat”! You just need the whites from two large eggs, cream of tartar, 1/2 cup of sugar and crushed peppermint candies of course!
- Peppermint Popcorn – You mix popped corn and crushed peppermint candies in a large bowl and pour in melted white candy coating. Stir to mix, pour out on some waxed paper to harden. Break apart when hardened and store in an airtight container.
To view these recipes and more, click here.
– Becky Lynn is a writer for EllisDownHome.com. She and her husband Bob enjoy spending time with their 8 grandchildren and traveling. Becky loves cranking up the music and heading to the kitchen to try out new recipes or cook for an upcoming party. She is passionate about continuing to be a life-long learner!