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Barbara’s Fun Plant Facts: Mentha or (Mint) herbs at the Southern Mansion

Apr 29, 2012 Southern Mansion 2012

Barbara’s fun Plant Facts:

Mentha (or Mint), like most of the perennial culinary herbs, is in the genus Lamiaceae.

The mint pictured here is known as “Kentucky Derby Mint.” An especially strong mint with large hairy leaves, this was brought up from Kentucky by my friend, Debbie Black’s, grandmother. She says that this plant is the original “Kentucky Derby/Mint Julep mint” that is associated with the Mint Julep.  It is larger and even more aggressive than most invasive mints, so a large patch is easy to establish.
The Mint Julep is a fun, traditional cocktail for the warmer months (when mint is in season), and, when served in the traditional Icy Sterling Cup, redolent of crushed fresh mint mulled with simple syrup and whiskey/brandy, it is truly a festive sight to behold; this is a most tasty and relaxing libation, guaranteed to stimulate many an interesting conversation!

Early this Sunday morning, my daughter, Hamilton, joined me in a warm spot of sunshine to enjoy a mug of fresh mint tea from the garden. Super easy to make and delicious, I don’t think it even needs honey because it’s so good already.

The history of the name Mint, or Minthe, originates from the Greek Minthe, a beautiful river naiad, who fell atwitter to the charms of the under lord Hades, but before succumbing to his seduction, was transformed to a mint plant bordering the river by Hade’s queen, Persephone.  Interestingly, mint was used in funeral rites, where it’s pungent small was probably a bonus in comparison to the smell of decay.

You can always identify a mint plant by its square stem and scent, though there are numerous varieties: chocolate, orange, pineapple, spearmint and peppermint. Each mint has a distinctive fragrance and taste.
We enjoy our numerous mint varieties at Willow Creek Farm and The Southern Mansion, and we hope you do as well!
 

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