The Herb of the Month for July is
Doublemint, Mentha x gracillis ‘Madeline Hill’
Doublemint is a genetic cross between Mentha arvensis (peppermint) and Mentha spicata (spearmint). It was thought to be genetically impossible, but was cultivated in the 1950s by Madeline Hill from Hilltop Herb Farm in Texas. This cultivar has been named in her honor, though originally known as red-stemmed apple mint.
- The Doublemint cultivar has a much more subtle and complex minty flavor through the combination of the two essential oils; menthol and carvone.
- The stems are a more vibrant red when grown in cooler climates, and the leaves are opposite and glossy green. It can grow in height between 24 to 30 inches. This mint, as all others, spreads through underground rhizomes and does well in full sun and well drained soil. Be sure to keep it trimmed throughout the growing season to encourage growth and a bushy habit.
- The strongest mint flavor will be evident when the plant is in full bloom.
- The complex flavor of Doublemint is welcome with fruits, some vegetables, teas, desserts, and is now a favorite variety in the Vietnamese community.
Take ½ to 1 cup. of mint leaves ‘muddle’ (bruise) them with ice cubes, add water and allow to steep in the refrigerator for a few hours. Serve and enjoy!
Using ½ to 1c. of freshly picked leaves, place in a teapot and cover with boiling water. Allow to steep 5 minutes to develop flavor. If desired, serve with a thin slice of lemon and a spoon of raw honey.
Using a large amount of plant material including stems, chop and place into a saucepan, covering your plant material with about 1 cup of filtered water and 2 cups of cane sugar. Bring this to a low simmer, so that the liquid will thicken. Cover and allow this mixture to cool. After it has cooled, strain and place into an airtight glass container.
This simple syrup will store well for several month,
Enjoy this subtle doublemint syrup drizzled over the fruits of the season, perhaps adding a dollop of whipped cream and some shaved chocolate!
Pesto is very versatile! Making pesto from mint, or basil and parsley, or spring ‘weeds’, or a combination thereof can be a great culinary adventure. Different nuts, seeds, or oils can also be utilized.
1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, or combination of mint and parsley
1 garlic clove
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ to 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt
1/3 cup olive oil
Combine and place all ingredients into a food processor until you have the consistency that you like. Add 1/8 teaspoon citric acid to retain the color and freshness. Place into airtight container. Enjoy this pesto as an open face sandwich spread to accent your favorite toasted cheese snack. Be sure to experiment with this recipes as with all others. You may prefer more than one clove of garlic, or perhaps you would like to adjust the ratio of herbs that you include.
1 to 1 ½ cup of clean doublemint leaves and stems, muddled (bruised)
3 cups white wine vinegar
Combine and allow to steep for 3 weeks or so in a glass jar with a plastic lid (to keep the lid from corroding). Strain and bottle using glass and perhaps a swing top bottle with a plastic stopper.