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The bright green leaves of Persian mint are long, thin and oval in shape. The petite leaves are attached to long dark green stems which are about 6 to 10 inches in length. Persian mint has a more delicate flavor than most mints with a subtle minty taste and aroma. Like most mints Persian mint is most commonly used fresh however when fried this particular mint will take on a slightly nutty flavor.
Persian mint may be found year-round, with peak season in the spring and summer.
A member of the Lamiaceae or Labiatae family, Persian mint is a perennial herb grown for its aromatic leaves. As a new variety of mint on the culinary scene, it is most commonly used in culinary preparations where a milder flavored mint is required. It is also grown in gardens as a groundcover and for its ability to attract birds, bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.
With its delicate mint taste Persian mint is perfect for applications where a lighter flavor of mint is desired. Leaves can be used in grain, green and fruit salads. Combine Persian mint with other herbs to make herb chutney or a finishing sauce for fish or lamb. Muddled leaves can be used to infuse cocktails, tea or lemonade. Use whole stems with leaves attached for an attractive garnish in drinks or atop desserts. Persian mint can also be fried in olive oil and served alongside a number of savory applications.
The Greek philosopher and botanist, Theophrastus, named the Mentha genus from a story in Green Mythology. It was said that the nymph Menthe was so adored by Pluto that Proserpine became jealous and had her turned into the plant that we know as mint.
A relatively new mint, Persian mint was named by researchers at Rutgers University conducting a study on the anti-inflammatory properties of mint and oregano. The mint came to Rutgers via Michigan State University who received it from foragers in San Francisco who discovered the mysterious herb was being grown and used for culinary purposes by the Persian community in the city. Similar to other varieties of mint, Persian mint grows aggressively and will easily spread throughout a garden if not properly contained in above ground pots or submerged vessels.
Recipes that include Persian Mint. One is easiest, three is harder.