5 Ways to Use Fresh Mint Leaves

Orange mint is pretty in containers and it adds citrusy mint flavor to beverages.

Orange mint shines in the garden and offers equally lovely flavor in the kitchen, with hints of citrus and lavender. Garden and lifestyle expert and garden-to-table cookbook author P. Allen Smith suggests using orange mint leaves to add subtle citrusy mint flavor to orange juice. Orange mint and other mints are perfect for pots.

Fresh mint brightens, cools, and refreshes everything from salads to cocktails. Now, with more mint varieties and flavors to choose from, the options for mint virtually never end.  How to narrow down the choices for using fresh mint leaves? We asked garden and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith to share his favorite uses for mint, straight from his kitchen.

P. Allen Smith serves fresh tomatoes and herbs for a garden meal.

P. Allen Smith advocates a garden-to-table lifestyle, using the freshest homegrown vegetables and herbs in his recipes.


Sweet Mint
“One of my favorite and most refreshing drinks is Sweet Mint water. It’s very simple to make. A gallon of water, a bundle of Sweet Mint, add ice, and it’s ready.”

Chocolate Mint
“There isn’t anything that I can think of that Chocolate Mint doesn’t make better. I add it chopped into chocolate cakes, chocolate cookies, chocolate ice cream, chocolate icing, chocolate mousse, chocolate puddings, chocolate sauce, hot chocolate … the list goes on and on.”

Orange Mint
“I like to add Orange Mint to my orange juice at breakfast. Just add the orange mint to a glass, pile in some ice cubes, then pour in the juice for an instantly refreshing, nutritious wake-me-up drink to start the day.”

Use mint in cocktails and other summer beverages.

Mint increases the cool quotient in refreshing summer beverages. Bruise the mint leaves before adding to drinks, and use fresh-picked leaves for garnish.

Peppermint
“Here’s a quick trick for when unexpected company shows up for lunch. I like to use Peppermint to brighten a simple salad. I make the salad with thin strips of Peppermint, lettuce, a quick champagne vinaigrette, dash of salt, and a French baguette — and done.”

Spearmint
Spearmint is the best choice for mojitos that can make any afternoon feel like I’m on a vacation. All you have to do is bruise the mint leaves lightly with a mortar and pestle or with just your fingers before adding it into drinks.”

A special thanks to Allen for sharing these mint ideas. Find more of Allen’s recipes in our In the Kitchen section, on our Videos page, and on the P. Allen Smith website.