Friday, August 10, 2012

Import Blog herbs chocolate mint

Blog EntryOct 23, '07 2:09 PM
for everyone

Before we retired here to Missouri, I had a beautiful spot for a garden, real"soil" that I am used to, and when I could find the time, I always had a very productive and fabulous veggie garden. I love herbs too, and I also had a very nice area with lots of herbs. There was a new nursery a few years before we left Illinois, that sold many many kinds of herbs. I had quite a collection of mints-I loved their smells and also they all had there own charactistics and all grew up differently.
One of my most favorite of the mints was chocolate mint-and yes it really smells like chocolate and has a hint of chocolate for flavor also., like peppermint patty. Since this herb brings fond memories of herb gardening I decided to feature it today.
Here is some info found on net:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mint_chocolate
Color and flavor

Botanical Name Mentha piperita 'Chocolate'
Common Name Chocolate Mint
Attribute Perennial
Cultural Requirements Full sun, part shade. Average water.
Mature size, Spacing Ht: 12", 12"-15" apart
Other Information Sweet, musky, "chocolaty" flavor. As with all mints, this one can be invasive. To keep it in check, either grow in containers or even in deep bottomless pots sunk in the ground.

above from- http://www.theherbcottage.com/mints.html
History and Folklore Mint has been an important herb since the early starts of civilization. Romans are responsible for carrying the herb throughout Europe. Mint was known to be treasured as an important aromatic herb in medieval times. People scented their baths and strew their homes with mint because of its fresh scent. In the eighteenth century, mint was valued for its medicinal uses. Remedies for everything from colic, to digestive odors, to mad dog bites called for mint. When the colonists came to the New World they brought along their mints for teas for headaches, heartburn, indigestion, gas and insomnia. They also drank mint tea for pleasure, not only because it tasted good, but also because it wasn't taxed.
The species name Mentha is derived from Roman mythology. Minthe was a lovely young nymph who caught the eye of Pluto, the ruler of the underworld. When Pluto's wife Persephone found out about his love for the beautiful nymph, she was enraged. She changed Minthe into a lowly plant, to be trodden underfoot. Pluto couldn't reverse Persephone's curse, but he did soften the spell somewhat by making the smell that Minthe gave off all the sweeter when she was tread upon. The name Minthe has changed to Mentha and become the name of the herb, mint.
As for the origins of mint's reputation as the herb of hospitality, Greek mythology tells us the story. Two strangers were walking through a village. The villagers ignored them and offered neither food nor drink. Finally an old couple, Philemon and Baucis, offered them a meal. Before the four sat down for their meal, the couple rubbed the table with mint leaves to clean and freshen it. The strangers turned out to be the gods Zeus and Hermes in disguise. As a reward for the hospitality Philemon and Baucis had shown them, the gods turned the humble home into a temple. Mint thus became the symbol of hospitality.
from here: http://www.herbsociety-stu.org/Mint.htm
here is some interesting info from here http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/menpiperitachocolate.htm

Mentha piperita Chocolate Mint
Chocolate Mint and Flower
Chocolate Mint (Mentha piperita cv.) neither smells nor tastes like chocolate, but rather it is reminiscent of an Andes after-dinner chocolate Mint. Thus, the suggestion of Chocolate is there and is strong enough to make us love it.
Great dried and added to black tea or used by itself, Chocolate Mint also makes a nice addition to chocolate deserts or a surprise addition to breakfast breads, as in our special Chocolate Mint Banana Bread Recipe.
Chocolate Mint Flower Stem
As you can see the Chocolate Mint flower opens from the bottom up. The green pods on the left are bracts that have already dropped their flowers. The tip will continue to elongate and flower.
Beautiful Chocolate Mint leaves
Mints develop their best colors and flavors when grown in the sun like this Chocolate Mint. There are two growth phases for mints, at first, in early spring, the stems head up to make flowers. After flower production, the horizontal runners take off and cover a lot of distance in a short time. Bees and Butterflies love mint flowers.
Chocolate Mint is one of the six plants included in our fun
Kid's Herb Garden Six Pack and in our
Gourmet Herb Garden Six Pack
.
Cultural Information
Height: 2 Feet
Hardiness: Perennial
in Zones 4-11
Flower Color: Lilac
Characteristics: Full/Part
Sun, Herbaceous
Uses: Butterfly Plant,
Culinary, Fragrant



and some good reading here http://www.cookingvegetarian.com/herbs/herbs-mint.htm

Herb of the Month - November


Herb of the month is a column written by Chefs and Gardeners of the famous Cheese Factory Restaurant. Each month we will feature an herb that we use in our recipes and grow in our gardens.
Mint
History of Mint
Gardening with Mint
Cooking with Mint
The herb mint belongs to a large family with over 30 species, t he most common being peppermint and spearmint. Native to the Mediterranean and western Asia, mints interbreed so easily it is often hard for even the experts to distinguish and separate all the varieties. All mints have the volatile oil menthol, which gives mint that characteristic cooling, cleansing feeling.
The Greeks believed mints could clear the voice and cure hiccups.
In fact, mint is part of Greek mythology and according to legend - "Minthe" originally a nymph, and Pluto's lover angered Pluto's wife, Persephone, who in a fit of rage turned Minthe into a lowly plant, to be trod upon.
Pluto, unable to undo the spell, was able to soften it by giving Minthe a sweet scent which would perfume the air when her leaves were stepped on - the aromatic herb Mint.

Early settlers brought mint to America primarily for medicinal uses. It was also a symbol of hospitality. Southern ladies and gentlemen would rock in their chairs on the veranda sipping Mint Juleps.

We use mint at The Cheese Factory Restaurant for garnishing breakfast plates as well as in our recipes. Our cookbook devotes a chapter using herbs for the art of seasoning. Our chefs give their top secret tips and recipes. Click Here to go to our cookbook chapter on herbs.
Mint is a perennial whose seeds can be sown in flats or in the ground. Plants also can be propagated by cuttings and transplanted once the root system is well established. Mint needs humid soil and only moderate sunshine. The trick is not to get them to grow, but to restrict the growth. This is one herb that spreads rather quickly by runners.
Frequently cutting or mowing of large plots will keep mints at their prettiest. In late fall, cut back to the ground and mulch if winters are severe.
Planting next to Raspberry or Roses makes good companion planting.

You can use mint as pot plants with other balcony herbs. This is a good herb for keeping ants away from doors and combating mice and fleas. Keep mint leaves near food, beds and wardrobes. Throw a few in the doghouse, and even rub the dog with them. (Cats will probably give your some trouble if you do it with them.)

The mint varieties you'll want growing in your garden are:
Chocolate mint
for desserts
Spearmint
for drinks
Peppermint for drinks & desserts
Garden mint for general cooking
Pineapple mint for salads & cooking
Here are some simple culinary uses for mint. Teas: Fresh Mint, Spearmint, Peppermint sprigs are great to put in your tea pot with your favorite tea. It is believed they reduce the adverse effects of tannin and caffeine. Pick the top of the mint plant off, wash it and add to your teapot. Steep for 2-3 minutes. Longer for a more potent flavor.
Jellos: Add your favorite mint to the jello once you've poured the hot mixture into its containers for refrigerating. (Use two mint heads per quart of liquid). Let it sit for 5 minutes before refrigerating and then take out the mint leaves. This makes very refreshing desserts. Chocolate mint is best in chocolate mousse or any chocolate dessert.
Eggs: Add chopped mint leaves to scrambled eggs, omelettes, souffl├ęs or quiches for a peppy flavor, or to your eggs or egg substitutes. Add the mint at the end of cooking of scrambled eggs or omelettes.
Salads: Fresh leaves are good with salads. Pineapple mint particularly is great in a mixed greed salad. Mixed with bulgar, red onions, tomatoes, parsley, and a lemony vinaigrette, it becomes Tabbouleh, a Middle Eastern salad perfect for summertime picnics.
Steamed Vegetables: Mint is most commonly used with peas. Carrots, potatoes, eggplant, white or black beans, and corn all pep up with the addition of freshly chopped spearmint. Add the herb at the end of the cooking process.
Check out our Free Recipe section for more on cooking with herbs or browse our Cookbook which includes a section on our secrets and tips on how to use fresh or dried herbs to create a variety of flavo

Now for some more recipe ides with chocolate mint:

• Donna Frawley, Michigan - International Herb Association Board Member, recommends adding ½ cup chopped fresh Peppermint or Chocolate mint to your favorite brownie recipe, either box or from scratch.
found above inserted into a newsletter here; http://www.edgehillherbfarm.com/newsletter.htm
and found this in a little blog type article about chocolate mint:

Chop them up and use them anywhere you might use mint; ice cream, cookies, cakes, ice tea. I like to take a big handful and cover it with sugar; let the sugar absorp the flavors, then use the sugar in baking. Chop the leaves over fuit salad -- a nice bright taste!
I grow it in pots on my deck so it won't take over and freeze it for the winter. Love it in tea!

I made jelly out of it. Yummy. DEbbie in NEbr

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon powdered chocolate mint
1 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups dark chocolate bits
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and chocolate mint. Beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy. Stir in chocolate bits and walnuts. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased baking trays. Bake at 190C for 8-10 minutes. If desired, add 6 tablespoons cocoa and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil while beating in the eggs.

these posts were all found here: http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load/herbs/msg042026187352.html?12
This recipe looks great for the summer:

Chocolate Mint Ice Cream

2 cups whipping cream
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup half and half
1 egg
Pinch salt
1/4 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 tablespoon peppermint extract
Several bunches of chocolate mint
Leave the mint attached to the stems, and rinse with water. Place the mint, sugar, and whipping cream in a double boiler. Cover and let steep slowly until the cream has a subtle green tint. Pour liquid mixture through a strainer and mash mint to force remaining liquid through the strainer. Return liquid to the double boiler.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and half and half together. Add to the cream in the double boiler, whipping while you add. Heat mixture until it reaches 165°F. Remove from heat and let cool.

Add extracts and salt and refrigerate overnight. Freeze the next day in an ice cream freezer.
Makes 1 quart of ice cream.
from here: http://www.bluedogherbs.com/chocolate_mint_icecream.aspx
If you are a hot chocolate or flavored coffee lover as I am you will want to try some fresh mint in your next cup. Chocolate mint is a particular favorite but any variety will transform these drinks from common to delightful. I put about a tablespoon of chopped fresh mint for each cup in an infuser so the leaves can be easily removed for company. As for me, I savor the leaves as well.
above came from here, a very article on brewing herb teas http://www.herbbasket.net/Herberist.html
Chocolate mint (M. x piperita ‘Chocolate’ ) is a wonderful surprise, smelling and tasting like a peppermint patty. It's great fun for kids to grow. Throw a few crushed leaves into hot milk or add to your coffee grounds for a great treat from here- http://www.morningsunherbfarm.com/mint3_2.html
There's a herb called "chocolate mint" (Mentha piperita species) that actually tastes a bit like mint chocolate. If it's dried, the chocolate mint aroma is especially strong. It can be chopped up fresh and sprinkled over ice cream, cake or anything that could use a mint chocolate flavour. It might sound a bit strange, but mint is good in drinks in the summer. When you make your ice cubes, just put a leaf or two of mint in the water before you freeze it. If you wait until the mint leaves dry out (or dry them in a food dryer), you can make tea from them:

Ingredients:
" 2 tablespoons dried chocolate mint leaves (these should be slightly crumbled but not powdered)
" A packet of hot chocolate mix or some instant coffee mix (optional but recommended)
Method:
1. Bring the water to the boil.
2. Put the leaves in a tea strainer and hang the strainer over a cup.
3. Pour the boiling water into the cup.
4. Leave for about 15 minutes then stir hot chocolate or instant coffee mix into tea
David Rodriguez
Texas Cooperative Extension
from here http://bexar-tx.tamu.edu/HomeHort/F1Column/2006%20Articles/JULY21-ChocMint.htm


Hope this gives you a few ideas for using chocolate mint. I think they would be wonderful in alot of different cookie recips, shortbreads,etc where you want a hint of chocolate. and the ideas for in your coffee, hot cocoa, or tea are wonderful too.
Enjoy

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