In season: mint

Mint is a must-have in the kitchen garden and such a versatile herb for culinary use. There are now many different varieties available, including chocolate mint and orange mint flavours. Plant in well-drained alkaline soil in partial shade or full sun and grow varieties separately rather than mixing in. Mint looks pretty in a border, in tubs or windowboxes, and planted in with other herbs. It is an invasive plant that grows vigorously though so needs to be planted in a container to restrict root spread. It’s also a good idea to prune mint plants regularly too. Divide potted plants in autumn to increase stock or alternatively take cuttings in spring. Here are some lovely ideas for using mint in the kitchen… Mint salt makes a great rub for fish or meat – mix chopped mint leaves with sea salt flakes. Add whole mint leaves to hot roasted pork or lamb sandwiches. Lightly bruise some mint leaves in a pestle and mortar and add to elderflower champagne or cordial. Or add a handful of mint leaves to a long cool gin and lemonade.Mint pesto is so easy to do and works well with grilled fish, roast chicken and in sandwiches with meat left over from the roast: Blitz 80g pine nuts with one small finely chopped shallot, a handful of mint leaves, 2 tsps white wine vinegar and the zest of one lemon, then season.

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