The principle of a balanced diet is the diversity of nutrients. Each category of them has specific and necessary functions for health. In decreasing order by volume, we should consume: Water, carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, vitamins and minerals. Of course, the proper functioning of the body does not depend only on good nutrition, but on the other hand, food cannot be just a source of nutrients! Food has to be delicious, it has to smell and what it says: Eat with your eyes! Aromatic Herbs are essential in this respect: they add value, enchant and can bring benefits even as an “innocent” leaf at the end of a dish. In this post of the “Spices and Aromatic Herbs” series, we will talk about her, who loves to decorate desserts, the Mint!
Mint, as well as many other aromatic herbs, is originally from the Mediterranean region. From there, they left for European colonies along with so many other cultural factors and recipes that have been adapting to their destinations over time. It is worth remembering that in this region of the Old World countries are also very influential culturally such as: Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece. Not only the colonizers, but also immigrants and traders were responsible for this process of “globalization” of the Mediterranean Aromatic Herbs.
The geographic and climatic characteristics of a region may or may not allow the cultivation of certain species, but even those that manage to develop outside their origin, can undergo changes (in most cases, they suffer). This set of characteristics of a region is called Terroir (from French: land), this term is widely used in the wine industry, so the identification of its origins is an extremely important data on labels. Aromatic herbs can be small plants, but most of them have a good adaptation to changes. THE Terroir of each place gave rise to variations in flavor, color, texture etc. Mint species vary between size, thickness, shape and color of the leaves, on the other hand there are two classic types: Common mint that is more sweet and the Pepper mint (mint) with more intense menthol notes, in turn it is poorly produced for food purposes, widely used in the toothpaste industry, because in addition to freshness, one of its characteristics is to have antiseptic properties.
Mint goes well in cooked or raw, sweet or savory, hot or cold, food or drink preparations! Have you noticed that? Ice cream, salads, meats, tea, juices, drinks … Under its simple appearance, it hides its nutritional wealth, has B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, iron, phosphorus and other compounds. What are the benefits? Antiseptic, fights viruses (one that causes thrush), bacteria and parasites, soothing, muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, healing, antioxidant, helps inhibit the action of free radicals that cause premature, digestive aging, helps with weight loss , benefits your skin and hair, and inhaling the steam from your tea is an expectorant.
A good tip is to have a vegetable garden at home, even for those who live in an apartment! Mint does not require much maintenance, just a place with good solar lighting, a vase, soil and water! See step-by-step instructions to start your vertical garden with mint! When buying a bunch of fresh mint, separate some branches and place them in a glass of water (the base of the branch must be immersed in the water and the leaves outside it) Change the water once a day, the mint can start to create roots on the second day, and when that happens, you can transplant it into a pot with soil. The same process is true for basil, but it may take a little longer to take root. It is important that the pot is only for the mint, as its rooting is very expansive and can “strangle” the roots of other plants that are in the same soil. The plant grows all year round and you will have fresh mint every day at home, the use is easier and the waste is almost none.
Vertical gardens have this name because they use little space, usually on walls, stairs, roofs, shelves and balconies in urban centers. These are becoming a type of movement to “green” more gray cities and to raise the quality of life, either by having pesticide-free foods, or by pleasant aromas at home. Many restaurants and other institutions that use these inputs, have adhered to the idea, adding value to their dishes and reducing costs. Vertical gardens are an invitation to the ability to plant, gradually changing society at economic and cultural levels. Among the most common plants in this type of practice are herbs, however, fruit trees among other plants easily enter the practices of those who start the vertical garden. Aromatic herbs are used to add flavors and aromas to preparations, offer beauty in finishing dishes and produce in a short time after planting and have simple maintenance, this practice practically changes your routine in the modern world.
Easy and practical uses with mint:
- Three to five small leaves in a cup with hot water covered for up to 5 minutes. A caffeine-free tea, full of digestive benefits, ideal for late afternoon and evening, goes well with snacks and will bring you nutrients.
- Some crushed mint leaves (with or without sugar) added to your fruit juice (suggestions: passion fruit, strawberry, orange or lemonade juice).
- Are you going to make a milkshake? Beat the milk with a little mint before adding the ice cream.
- In a salad with mild flavors (lettuce, tomato, cucumber, etc.), add a small amount of mint, and a white cheese. Cut the mint with scissors or chop them coarsely with your fingers, the use of knives may end up leaving more mint extract on the surface where the cut is being made, than in its preparation. And always be careful with exaggerations!