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Tasty Garden Goodness – How Cool is Mint! A Bonus for Outdoor Spaces By Candy Webb

Ah, summertime! So happy to see you on the way with all the fun you bring. Family gatherings, barbecues with friends, relaxing times, and lazy days all come to mind whenever we think of summer.  Count me in!

If you’re like most of America, you’ve already made plans for an at-home outdoor retreat, a place to enjoy the season. Whether that space is large or small, you’ll want the area to be a special, carefree spot designed for decreasing stress and unwinding. Container plants are a plus in outdoor settings, adding a cooling effect and embellishing the scene. Herbs are always a smart potting selection since they can be used for more than just decoration, and mint can be one of the best herb choices for a variety of reasons.

Mint is one of the most versatile plants in the garden. Used for enhancing dishes from sweet to savory, mint is also garnered for its medicinal benefits and cosmetic effects. For an outdoor space, mint becomes a superhero deterring bugs like mosquitoes, spiders, fleas, ants and discouraging rodents and other pests. 

While there are thousands of mint ‘family’ varieties, the most commonly grown are peppermint and spearmint. Effortlessly raised in rich, moist soil, these herbs are best established in enclosed areas to keep them from taking over the garden. They will thrive in planters and boxes. The leaves and stems are easily harvested and regrown throughout the season, returning year after year.

A few favorite culinary uses for the plant include dried for mint tea, jellied for lamb, muddled for juleps, mixed into iced tea, and cooked into soups and stews. More and more, today’s chefs combine this herb with not-so-common ingredients. You’ll find the leaves are great diced in salads, topping rice bowls, garnishing ice cream, brownies, mojitos, or pairing with watermelon, mangos, and peaches. Even yummier, try tucking them into shrimp tacos and cucumber sandwiches. Wait, though; you can do more than cook with mint!

The antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antioxidant-rich properties (Wow, that’s a lot!) of mint make the leaves and stem ideal for various uses. For example, mint tinctures aid in the relief of indigestion, digestive health, and upset stomach, relieving headaches, stress, anxiety, nasal stuffiness, and even reducing pain from sunburn, muscle cramps, and mosquito bites. Additionally, it’s known to cool skin and scalp in shampoos and toners and provide moisturizing benefits when made into oils, rubs, and packs. You’re going to love this stuff!

Found anywhere you purchase plants and herbs; mint is a sure winner in the garden and a bonus for all outdoor spaces. So enjoy your summer retreat this year and the naturally versatile, healthy, great-tasting choice of cool mint.