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Orange mint's rich green leaves are oval in shape and grow on striking green to burgundy square stems. When allowed to flower this mint hybrid cross produces white and pink spiked blooms from mid- to late summer. Highly aromatic Orange mint tends to be stronger in flavor than many other varieties of mint with notes of citrus and spice with lavender undertones. Its aromatic properties are enhanced when bruised.
Orange mint is typically available during the spring and summer months.
Orange mint, also known as Bergamot mint or eau de cologne mint is a member of the Lamiaceae or Labiate family and scientifically known as Mentha x piperita citrata. Orange mint is a hybrid variety of mint grown for its fragrant leaves. Similar to other varieties of mint, Orange mint is a natural attractant of pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies. An oil extracted from Orange mint is commonly utilized for its aromatic properties and adding scent to perfumes and soaps.
The flavor of Orange mint works best in fresh preparations. Use chopped in fruit or grain salads. Add minced leaves to dressings, vinegars, jellies and sauces. Its flavor is excellent in cream, fruit and chocolate based dessert preparations such as ice cream, crème brule and tarts. Orange mint can be used as a flavor infuser for teas, cocktails and lemonade. Whole leaves may also be used as a garnish for sweet desserts and certain savory dishes.
Orange mint is believed to be one of the secret ingredients in true Chartreuse liquor, an herbal French liquor made up of 130 secret herbs, plants and flowers produced by Carthusian Monks since 1737.
Native to Europe Orange mint has long been utilized for its aromatic properties, both in culinary applications and as a deodorant for rooms, tables and the body. This perennial herb is easy to grow and will thrive when given moist soil and moderate to full sun exposure. The roots of Orange mint are vigorous growers and tend to be invasive when planted in an open garden. To prevent spreading of mint, plant in pots or buried vessels within a garden bed.