Tips for growing and caring for mint, plus our favorite recipes come harvest time
1 of 7Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Julie Chai
In the heat of summer, nothing refreshes like the cool flavor of just-picked mint. It’s perfect in iced tea, cocktails, and mixed into salads.
The most common mints are either a type of peppermint or spearmint. Peppermints contain menthol, so have a very strong flavor, and are often used to flavor dishes but aren’t actually eaten. Spearmints are sweeter and milder, and leaves can be mixed into dishes.
2 of 7Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Julie Chai
How to plant and grow
Planting. Mint spreads quickly and vigorously, so always grow it in well-draining soil, in a container that’s at least a foot tall and wide (and even bigger is better). Place the pot in a spot that gets full or part sun.
Watering. Water regularly, keeping soil moist but not soggy.
3 of 7Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Julie Chai
How to harvest
Gather as needed by clipping stems all the way to the ground.
Divide plants when they start to outgrow their pots, about once a year. Dump the entire plant out, cut it into sections with a sharp knife or shovel, then replant the sections in fresh soil. You can give away the extra plants to friends.
4 of 7Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Amy Machnak
How to cook: Our favorite mint recipes
And in a few months, when you’re ready to harvest, here are some of our favorite ways to eat mint.
The classic Cuban libation is the perfect study in fresh mint used in a cocktail. We like to make a pitcher of these in the summer just as guests are about to arrive.