Another culinary herbal favorite of mine is mint. It is definitely something I buy weekly, fresh from either the grocery store or the farmers market.
To be totally honest, I never really used mint in my food until this year. My husband and I recently took a trip to Seattle to eat at my new favorite raw food restaurant Thrive Café, and that was my very first conscious culinary experience with mint!
Prior to that, I had been making mint tea, or using peppermint essential oil to freshen my breath or for my herbal “inhalers” to open up my sinuses. But for whatever reason I never thought of using it in my food.
And boy was I missing out!
I took a bite of my fully raw wrap at Thrive that day and thought, what is that amazing flavor? Come to find out, it was the fresh flavor of whole mint leaves right inside the wrap. Ummm…HEAVEN!
I’ve been hooked ever since that day, and now I use it for a ton of my raw and even cooked food dishes.
Here are some of the amazing benefits of mint…
1. Mint promotes digestion, is a great palate cleanser and soothes the stomach in cases of inflammation or indigestion. It can also help with nausea and motion sickness.
2. Rubbing a drop of peppermint essential oil on the forehead or temples can help with headaches.
3. Mint’s strong aroma can help clear the sinuses in cases of congestion. This is why I use it in my herbal “inhaler” formula!
4. Studies have shown that mint oil can help reduce nipple cracks and pain in breastfeeding women.
5. Mint is a natural stimulant and can therefore help give you a boost when you are feeling fatigued.
6. Mint oil is antiseptic, and when applied topically (it should be slightly diluted if it’s an essential oil) can help clean skin, reduce pimple flare-ups, and help prevent infections.
7. Mint not only freshens breath, but with its antimicrobial properties helps prevent bacterial growth in the mouth.
If used regularly, you can see some of these amazing benefits of mint!
Now here’s the question I’m sure you’ve been asking: How do I personally use mint in the kitchen?
*First off, I have to say mint is very versatile and can be used in a number of ways. It has unlimited potential!
*I add it to my fresh raw juices and smoothies in the morning. Mint is a great complement to anything citrus, tropical, or even chocolate. It also pairs well with cilantro and basil. This morning I made a smoothie and added the following:
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
- Green grapes
- Coconut water
*Mint is an amazing addition to my fully raw tacos and wraps (recipe coming soon!). Whenever I make a raw taco, burrito or wrap, I almost always add mint leaves to it. Sound strange? It did to me too, and then once I tried it that day at Thrive, I was sold!
*I add mint to many Mediterranean dishes, such as quinoa tabbhouleh, green bean dishes, grape leaves and grass fed lamb stew. In these dishes mint pairs well with rosemary and even garlic.
*Mint in desserts = DYNAMITE! I add mint to my banana ice cream, strawberry banana ice cream, and coconut cacao smoothie. As far as desserts are concerned, mint is highly versatile and a little goes a long way, so try not to overdo it!
*You will often find me chewing on a few fresh mint leaves to freshen my breath and get the digestive benefits.
*I use mint as a garnish often as well. It looks really pretty on top of a pile of banana ice cream, or on top of a yummy fully raw “spaghetti” dish made with zucchini.
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