Spring is in the air and that means we are that much closer to a bounty of herbs around here! Never mind that a heap of snow is headed our way this weekend…sigh. I’ll pretend for just another day or two and hold tight to the thought of Spring.
I was just talking with some gals yesterday about how I love my herb garden and y’all who have followed me this past year know it’s something I talk about quite often..fresh herbs will change your life. I know a little dramatic but it’s true! I was telling them that other than watering, I really do not do a thing to my herb garden other than go out in the Springtime and cleanup some of the dead brush and foliage.
With the looming thought of snow, I knew I couldn’t remove any of the dead brush and foliage just yet since it still needs protection and insulation from the elements but I went ahead and threw caution to the wind and went out there this morning to see if anything had decided to sprout yet. Much to my surprise, some spearmint had made its way up out of the ground. Hello Sunshine!! And, of course, to me that little sign of life is what I call inspiration so I marched myself back in the house and made some Spearmint Tea which then led to some picture taking and then of course, that led to sharing with all of you.
Nowadays the “it” thing to do is flavor ice cold water with all sorts of fruit and herbs. Oh how it jazzes up a plain ‘ol glass of water but one of my all time favorite things to do in the Winter/Spring months when there is still a chill in the air is to steep fresh herbs like spearmint and lemon thyme in hot water. It’s basically DIY tea without the tea bag (and the yellow stained teeth). You can steep the leaves as long or as little as you like and it is a super quick, easy (and yummy) way to squeeze in drinking more water without your teeth chattering! My kids love this and makes them feel all grown up. They love experimenting with flavor combinations but hands down spearmint is our favorite. Hope you will give it a try too. I bet you will be hooked like we are! Also hope you will plant your own herb gardens this year and see just how easy they are to maintain and manage.
I am sure I have shared this tip before but it’s definitely worth repeating.
Tip of the day and really just my opinion – not all mint is created equal.
Mint is plentiful in grocery stores this time of year but pay close attention to how it smells and how it is labeled. I have found more times than not that regular mint sold in the stores is off putting and frankly, smells pretty bad. If it doesn’t smell good, do not buy it.
To test it, rub one of the leaves between your fingers to release the oil and then take a whiff of your fingers to test the scent. If it smells clean and fresh, chances are it will taste that way. If, for whatever reason, the scent seems off to you, do not buy it. I can’t tell you how many times I have bought “mint” thinking it would be better once I used it in a recipe and I’ve been disappointed each and every time.
Tip #2 when it comes to mint, check the label. Plain ‘ol mint under the one word, generic guise of “mint” normally tastes terrible and since we are friends and friends hold nothing back, if I’m being totally honest, I think this type of “mint” smells like cat pee (I know, you’re welcome, as your nose wrinkles and you mutter, “ooh!”). Trust me, you will be much happier with the flavor of spearmint, peppermint, chocolate mint or pineapple mint. Hope this tip helps and you’ll think of me and my cats next time you are scent testing herbs! =)
As always, you can find more at www.sharingourlifeloveandfood.com.