Chocolate Mint- Good For Much More Than Tea!
Did you know that there’s a plant that is nearly impossible to kill, grows abundantly, and has a myriad of uses? Sound good? It sure did to me! For a $2 investment, I’ve been enjoying these benefits for the past few years.
I’m all about multi-use items. If I can buy a product for a low cost and continue to use it, year after year, I’m a pretty satisfied customer.
Chocolate mint has been one of those treasured purchases for me. I have discovered many practical uses for this plant, so I use it abundantly. Not only is Chocolate Mint easy to grow, but it is hard to kill. It is an herbal plant, but NO GREEN THUMB is required. I promise!
Five or six years ago I stumbled upon a Chocolate Mint plant while browsing the herb section at a local nursery. Intrigued by the name, I purchased a small 4-inch pot for about $2.00. My purchase was made in springtime, and by early summer I had more than an abundance of Chocolate Mint!
If you can’t find a plant locally, have no fear, you can purchase seeds and have them delivered to your door!
5 uses for chocolate mint:
1. Hot Herbal Tea
Chocolate Mint makes the best fresh herbal tea ever! Just clip enough leaves to half fill your cup. Place the tea leaves into a tea strainer, add strainer to the cup, pour in boiling water and steep for at least five minutes. Remove tea strainer and sip the most amazingly refreshing tea!
Want a little more creamy and chocolatey flavor? Just add a couple of tablespoons of chocolate almond, coconut, or soy milk. This is my all-time favorite! I call it “hot chocolate mint tea.” Delicious! (And if you crave chocolate, this will give you a healthful and low-calorie fix.)
2. Sweet Chocolate Mint Tea
Add chopped chocolate mint to a tea strainer. Add the tea strainer to a half-gallon jug, along with 2 Luzianne family-sized tea bags. Pour boiling water over the tea. Steep for 20 minutes. Remove tea bags and strainer. Sweeten with your choice of 4 dropper-fulls of liquid chocolate Stevia or 1/2 cup sugar. Fill a jug with cold water. Refrigerate until cold. Serve over ice.
3. Palate cleanser and food digestion
Added to an after-dinner green salad, Chocolate Mint makes an interesting palate cleanser that will actually aid in food digestion. Dare I say? When eaten regularly, it can even eliminate or greatly diminish the foul smell of some naturally occurring gaseous body odors.
Ladies, this can be extremely beneficial, if like me, you have a house full of males. Yes, I will personally testify to the truth of this claim! I hide it in salads for this very reason. Shhhh, let this be our little secret.
4. Bug and rodent repellent
Mint plants, including my cherished Chocolate Mint, have been said to repel flies, fleas, mosquitoes, ants, mice, and rats. Because of this, I keep a pot of mint by my swing growing right along with my lavender and purple petunias. I also grow some by my chicken coop. Since I have recently placed a couple of pots on my back patio, there has been a notable decrease in mosquitos there.
5. Great Gift
Because chocolate mint multiplies easily, it is a great plant for gifting. Have a tea-loving friend? Pot one of the runners, and share the tea! Having a tea party? Once your plant is established, you can plant enough Chocolate Mint starters for all your guests! For added charm, plant them in a tea-pot or tea-cup. Your guests will be delighted.
Now, this hardy plant is wonderful, but there are a few tips and tricks I need to share with you!
A few notes on caring for your Chocolate Mint plant:
Be sure to have plenty of room for your mint plant to grow. The plant sends out runners and will quickly take over a garden area. It makes a beautiful ground cover if you have the room. If you’d rather contain the plant, you’ll need to plant it in a container and keep it trimmed.
If you’d like to bulk harvest your chocolate mint, do so by waiting until just before the plant blooms. This will ensure the most intense flavor. Cut the whole plant to just above the first or second set of leaves. You’ll be removing the yellowing lower leaves, which will promote bushier growth. You should be able to bulk harvest in this manner three times per season.
To dry your chocolate mint, clean it as needed after harvesting. Spread the leaves into a single layer on cookie sheets. Bake in a pre-heated 170*F oven for 2-3 hours. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely. Crumble leaves into a glass storage jar, preferably storing this jar in a cool, dark place.
Looking for more uses for mint and other teas that you can grow? I found this great book and have it on my book wishlist! Growing Your Own Tea Garden: The Guide to Growing and Harvesting Flavorful Teas in Your Backyard!
I hope that I’ve inspired you to go out and pick up your own $2 Chocolate Mint plant and get it planted! If you have more uses for this excellent garden addition, I’d love for you to share them here!
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