Mint – Mentha spp
There are some 25 species of mint occurring in the temperate regions of Europe, Asia and Africa. Mint – Mentha spp - has naturalized in many parts of the world. Preferring moist, rich soil, in sun or partial shade mint is a bit of a garden thug and needs to be contained if it is not to spread across the garden. It is better not to plant different species of mint together as this tends to diminish their flavours. Should you need to; plants can be propagated by splitting in the Spring or autumn.
Leaves can be picked throughout the growing season, before flowering. All mints are rich in volatile oils and it is menthol that gives mints their distinctive smell and taste. The Japanese have been cultivating mint to obtain menthol for at least 2000 years.
Peppermint is one of the stronger aromatic species and is used both medicinally and in cooking. Mint is often used in savoury dishes with lamb, teas and iced drinks
Mint Chocolate Mousse
Warm 250ml of single cream to just below boiling, add a handful of clean chocolate mint leaves and leave to infuse for an hour. Remove the mint leaves and bring back to nearly boiling, remove again from the heat and add 100g of dark chocolate, stir until melted and smooth. Beat in two egg yolks until smooth. The egg whites can be whisked and added to the mixture for a lighter texture. Pour into individual pots and decorate with mint leaves