The Herb of the Month for May 2021 is Pineapple Mint, Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’.
Pineapple mint is an attractive, variegated variety of apple mint. This variation of apple mint has white coloring in its leaves and this color variation can be found at the leaf edge, or dappling the leaf, or the whole leaf may be white. The ruffled looking leaves are somewhat bumpy and hairy, and the plant can grow to be about one foot tall. Its scent is fruity pineapple with a mint undertone. This perennial does well in our area, zone 7b, and will do well in containers mixed with other herbs and colorful annuals. As with all mints, it loves being in rich moist soil, in full sun or partial shade, and is grateful for being pruned during the summer months. Be warned! This escape artist does spread aggressively and vigorously and so might be used as a desirable ground cover.
It’s delightful fruity flavor is best enjoyed fresh! Add leaves to lemonades, cocktails and jellies. Use the leaves as a garnish for Caribbean and Polynesian dishes. Or, try your hand at making syrups or infused oils using the larger leaves and stems of pineapple mint. Most of all, enjoy the unique leaves and flower spikes which will be attracting butterflies, bees, and native pollinators to your garden.
Using Pineapple Mint
- Fresh is best! Since Pineapple Mint would lose its delicate flavor through cooking.
- Add it to your favorite fruit salad for a new flavor twist. Refrigerate for one to two hours to allow the flavors to meld.
- Serve it as a garnish for any tropical drinks, lemonade, teas, and even hot teas.
- Used the chopped leaves to make delicious ice cubes for refreshing water or drinks. They will be a hit with your family and friends.
- Use ‘muddling’ and add to tropical drinks.
- Add to your vase of flowers, to sweeten and freshen a room.