For the frugal creative person with a lavish streak, making your own tea and better yet, giving it away as gifts will save you . . . a mint! (Sorry, couldn't resist the pun!)
So grow some mint and you'll soon have an abundant harvest that will make you feel lavish. Make tea, mix the mint into food or scent a bathtub. Mint is easy to dry. Though I do have a food dehydrator, I live in a dry climate so I usually dry the mint outside. Here are some photos from my garden that will show you what to expect when drying mint.
Here's how to dry mint at home using window screens:
- Hose the mint down (while it's in the ground) to be sure it's clean. Let it dry.
- Clip the plant stalks at the bottom -- a few inches from the ground.
- Spread the stalks across a clean window screen propped across 2 chairs.
- Turn the mint during the day.
- Don't let the mint get rained on or otherwise wet.
- When dry, run your hand down the stalk from the tip to remove dry leaves. Discard stems.
- Save the leaves on a platter and let them dry again for at least the day. Put mint leaves in baggies or glass jars and store in a dark, cool cupboard.
Uses for fresh or dried mint: The strength of flavor varies between varieties, so I did not include amounts. Taste as you add mint to your food.
- Tea, potatoes, lamb, carrots, yogurt, ice cream, chocolate, oranges and other citrus fruits, salsa, vegetables.
- If you love the flavor of fresh mint during the off-season, chop it and freeze it into ice cubes. As it thaws it will subtly flavor the beverage while looking gorgeous. You can also add the mint ice cubes to vegetable water (great with peas) or soups.
- Bury a few fresh mint stalks in a couple cups of white sugar for a few days to flavor the sugar. Remove the mint so it won't decay.