Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Chocolate Mint

We are having an exceptionally warm spell at the beginning of February and it has me in the mood for spring. That reminded me of last spring when my wife and I were wandering through the Farmer’s Market when we happened upon something I had never heard of before… a Chocolate Mint plant. I said, “Seriously?” To which the herb grower said, “Seriously!” So I bought it. I was warned to keep it in a pot unless I wanted it to take over the flower bed. We heeded the warning and put the plant in a large pot on the deck. It grew just fine in partial shade.

It’s pretty fast growing. Once it had some size to it, the plant did not mind having its branches trimmed often. We plucked a few leaves at a time and used them fresh. We also cut multiple stems, bundled them together, and hung to dry. Once dried I stripped the leaves from the stem and put them into an airtight jar.

Chocolate mint is a member of the peppermint family. Who cares right? What you want to know is does it taste like chocolate? My wife perceives it as highly chocolaty. Me, I think it hints at chocolate with a stronger but not overwhelming cooling peppermint. Other people can’t detect the chocolate at all. I think the real secret is to not anticipate a heavy chocolate blast but rather a subtle touch.

What does this have to do with tea? I use the leaf in my tea mug. My wife uses the leaf in her coffee cup. I have also read of it being used in cookies and cakes. For tea, I used 3 to 5 leaves per cup. It will re-steep twice. My favorite use was with a cheap puerh. On its own the puerh was fishy and musty smelling (not good). With the chocolate mint it became a divine drink. Experiment and you may find some awesome uses for this herb. I personally do not like spearmint in tea as I think it tastes like you are drinking with gum in your mouth but I find this mint very tasty.

The plant is hardy and should come up again this spring. If it doesn’t, I will be heading for the Farmer’s Market. I highly recommend you give it a try. Just make sure to grow it in a pot.

No comments:

Post a Comment