49 ways to use mint (and how to grow it in containers)

Mint: easy to grow in containers and so versatile.

How would you use a surplus of mint?

I asked the question on the Vertical Veg Facebook page.  More people responded than ever – and with so many delicious, fun and creative ideas. Here are some of the best (thanks to all of you who contributed!).

Mint is a brilliant and easy crops to grow in containers. For tips on who to make yours thrive, see the bottom of this post.

49 ways to use mint

  1. Invite friends to a Mojito Party (Darja Fišer); Mojito! What do you mean SURPLUS mint? (Mariquez Troost)
  2. Run fresh pineapple through the blender along with mint leaves and pour into pop-cycle molds. Yum!!!! (Suzi Lindsay Vause)
  3. Plant it in every empty lot in the neighborhood. (Maryann Wells Molina)
  4. Make Choc Mint frozen yoghurt (Yasmin Maria El-Minyawi)
  5. Make mint sauce (Christine Crabb)
  6. Take it inside! It keeps the spiders away ! (Gregory Blanton)
  7. Make a chocolate mint cake (Terry De Vivo-Locaciato)
  8. It’s good frozen into ice cubes for another day… (Vera Williams)
  9. Minty mushy peas (Paulie Jones)
  10. Mint jam (Fiona Joi RossiCone)
  11. To have in Taboulleh (Petra Jenkins)
  12. Good for colds and acid reflux, sprains, muscle soreness, or just good to look at and smell (Judy Altice)
  13. Make mint chutney, various recipes use mint, coriander, onions, chilli, lemon (Liz Rowles)
  14. Use it to keep rodents away (Daya Doris Hargrave)
  15. Enjoy minty Arabian tea as often as I want! (Carol de la Haye)
  16. Olive oil and mint ice cubes (Panos Pomonis Fresh)
  17. Mint julep, fantastic for beating this heat!  (Leah White Stewart)
  18. Make into a simple syrup use in drinks and cooking (Leah White Stewart)
  19. Mint Jelly. Makes a fabulous, much appreciated Yule gift. (Kecia Sparlin)
  20. Dry it for tea this winter (Sun Enge)
  21. New potatoes and mint. (Helen Warner)
  22. If u don’t want to use toothpaste because it has chemicals in it . U can brush with baking soda and chew a mint leaf after. (Donna Baggett Van Atta)
  23. Put a few in your glass of water… (Phyllis Martin Wolff)
  24. I use mine to make dog biscuits. Help with the dog breath and my pup loves them! (Meleco Arts)
  25. Make sugar-mint syrup and pour over cold melons or fresh fruit salad! (Inbar Maayan)
  26. Blitz them with coriander, green chillies, salt onion and tomato for chutneys. (Mridula Rani Sharma)
  27. Bunches hanging up as room fresheners, and when they get stale use as mulch. (Sandra McHarg)
  28. Fresh peas cooked with a mint leaf. Yummy! (Glenna James)
  29. When you’ve run out of ways to enjoy it take it to a food swap and swap it with a neighbour for something you don’t have. (Tiffany Westphal)
  30. Well I made two different marinades/salad dressings, once was an apricot dressing w/ mint, the last was a lemon mint quinoa “salad”. (Lisa Brady)
  31. Give it to my friend, her lizard loves the stuff. (Kenney Hodson)
  32. Minted spaghetti sauce (Carol Gernon Hunter)
  33. Mint tea is great for settling a tummy ache (Patricia Smith)
  34. Dry and than make Thatziki (Ak Alp)
  35. Give it to a Vietnamese restaurant for their rolls they roll in lettuce and mint. So wonderful! (Abby Robinson)
  36. Juice it and drink it you will smell amazing! Freeze any extra juice. (Scott Muirhead)
  37. I’m using it fresh in dolmades and chocolate mint in watermelon salad. (Catherin Gregory)
  38. I had so much last year – apple, chocolate, ginger, grapefruit, pineapple and peppermint – I took great armfuls of it to the local cafe bar where they had great fun experimenting with it for future dishes/drinks. (Saffron Gardenchild ).
  39. I dry it and sell the *tea* at the farmers market. (Patricia Smith)
  40. Offer it to an old peoples home so they can use it in fresh mint teas…….. (Gigi Camille Llewellyn Navana) ·
  41. I have made mint pudding by soaking mint in milk overnight, then straining and cooking with that milk. (MaryAlice Denson)
  42. Lovely couscous with chopped mint, raisins, harissa, sumac, pine nuts and cranberries – whatever you like! (Matt Dolman)
  43. Make Mint jelly with either apple or gooseberries (Linda Ridsdill Smith)
  44. Put it in spring rolls, with avocado and other veggies and a peanut sauce, it’s the best! (Émilie René-Véronneau)
  45. Make a mint tincture – great for upset stomachs & wind (Mark O’Sullivan)
  46. Give it to friends and neighbors (Didi Steen)
  47. Use it as a garnish (Terry De Vivo-Locaciato)
  48. Dry & Give as Christmas gifts for tea. (Tricia Hensley Marks)
  49. Give a empty large yogurt container with a mint planted in to anyone i knew in a basement suite to help them avoid unexpected guests of the furry and six-legged kind (Sam Esmeralda)

 

How to grow healthy mint in a container

 

To grow bushy mint, harvest by pinching out the tips. This mint needs pinching out now or it will quickly grow straggly.

To grow bushy mint, harvest by pinching out the tips. This mint needs pinching out now or it will quickly grow straggly.

Pot size

Mint will struggle along in a half litre pot, but it’ll be happier and more productive in something bigger – like a 2  or 5 litres. I grow mine in five litre pots with small water reservoirs, where they do great.

Sun

Mint will grow fine with just a couple of hours sun a day – so an excellent one for a shady window sill or balcony.

Feeding

Mint is a hungry plant and can become unhappy in a container if not fed. Feed it every week or two in spring and summer with a liquid feed – seaweed is perfect, if you have it, or worm wee or nettle tea (if you don’t mind the whiff). Or, alternatively, add a few chicken manure pellets or a handful of worm compost to the top of the pot every six weeks or so.

Water

Mint likes plenty of water – another reason to grow it in a bigger pot as it will dry out less quickly.

Maintenance

Mint may become a bit sad if left in the same pot for more than a year. The roots can fill up the container and it runs out of energy. To rejuvenate it, take the mint out of the pot and divide it into half or quarters. Repot each bit into its own pot, add some fresh compost, and, hey presto, your mint should be happy again. As a bonus, you’ll have extra extra mint plants for your container garden – or to give away to friends (lovely present, particularly if you can find a particularly tasty or unusual variety of mint).

Which mint?

There are many varieties of mint, with different tastes and different uses. Try them to find one you like. My favourites include Moroccan mint (be aware: not all mint sold as ‘Moroccan’ has the full mint kick of proper Moroccan mint) for tea and cooking, garden mint for salads, and chocolate mint for tea and deserts. Ginger mint and pineapple mint are lovely, too.

Your turn

What’s your favourite way to use mint? I’d love to hear in the comments.

 

 

25 comments… add one

  • I saw on your website how to grow pea shoots.Interesting I thought so I bought some marrowfat peas in a box, some compost & followed your instructions and WOW! The day before yesterday, I harvested my first salad of pea shoots & they are fantastic & very healthy & I grew them in the porch. They taste just like summer garden peas when they’ve been shelled & you eat the occasional raw pea from the pod! Thank you SO much Mark for information on how to grow pea shoots! Amazing! And I enjoyed for the first time ever, growing my own healthy salad:) Cheers..PJ..

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    • Fantastic Pauline – well done on your first successful growing. So glad it worked so well and you enjoyed your first home grown salad. This can be a truly wonderful hobby – enjoy the journey of discovery!

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  • My pet rabbits get a lot of my spare mint. They absolutely love it and it counts towards their portion of fresh veg every day. :)

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  • Dried mint as tea leaves and kept it in the tin container.
    Used it when you feel you want a cup of tea with close friends or receiving guests.
    They love it.

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  • Hey Mark
    Sipping coffee in France how wonderful.
    I love using mint or bunches of cilantro and parsley to hang in the dining room and kitchen. It does freshen the air and also gives that little touch to your room as well.
    Summer just won’t go away here in Odessa, Texas. We are still hitting in the 90ties. Little rain, however, this weekend cross your fingers we expect rain.
    Gardens are waning. My squash is producing lovely blossoms but no squash. Okra producing very small amounts branch got so brittle it split.
    Fennel is going crazy and my small yellow tomatoes are absolutely plentiful.

    Here’s looking at ya from Texas.

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    • Love the idea of hanging bunches of mint, Sally. Thanks for sharing – and congrats on your tomatoes and fennel.

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  • And Paul sent this recipe in: “Found this on the web after enjoying bought 4 Valleys lemon & mint cordial
    Lime or lemon works well, add ginger as well if you like

    http://www.foodbyjessica.com.au/2012/01/this-weeks-recipe-lime-and-mint-cordial.html

    Reply
  • Here’s is a nice recipe that Mother Sarvakanthie in South Africa has sent in:
    Grind the mint with yoghurt and green chillies add some lemon juice you can add some crushed peanuts.There you have a very nice hot chutney.eat with your food or as a dressing on salads or pasta.

    Reply
  • Chopped up together with a clove of garlic, one small fresh hot/spicey chillie, small onion, large fleshy tomatoe and large avocado or several small ones , mixed with the juice of one lemon, a doze of your favorite organic omega oil and salt and pepper to taste and viola! A delicious guacamole to accompany your grill meats or veggies! Bon appetite 😉

    Reply
  • Sorry – this isn’t anything to do with mint – but I didn’t know where else to leave information…..
    I saw this and thought other Vertical Veg growers may find it interesting and useful:
    http://www.alaskagrowbuckets.com/
    Good luck with your growing everyone!

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  • Hi,
    I felt as though Mark had a view of my balcony garden when I saw this newsletter.
    My mint plant have not been doing well since summer started and from this post I realise that it needs repotting and feed.
    Thank you very much.

    Reply
  • Grind mint leaves with green chillies and yoghurt or maas or buttermilk add lemon juice 2teaspoon add a pinch of salt hari bol all in a food processor or blender there you have a nice chutney or dressing.I like it hot so I add extra green chillies.1 green chilie a day purifies the blood.Mother Sarvakanthie.South Africa

    Reply
  • Grind mint leaves with green chillies and yoghurt or maas or buttermilk add lemon juice 2teaspoon add a pinch of salt hari bol all in a food processor or blender there you have a nice chutney or dressing.I like it hot so I add extra green chillies.1 green chilie a day purifies the blood.Mother Sarvakanthie.

    Reply
  • I love this post, I’ve just taken some cuttings and divided some mint plants from my mums garden, for a big mint planter in my new garden, I needed these minty tips :)

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  • Mint is good for calming IBS, not acid reflux. It actually aggravates acid reflux as it relaxes the sphincter between stomach and esophagus, allowing the stomach acid back up where it shouldn’t be, so anyone with that condition should avoid.

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  • there are two type of mints one is called desi(local) second one is improved. local’s leaves are small but its smell is strong from improved one. people of Indus civilization used it with onion, chilies, tomatoes and lassi( curd is blown butter is separated and other liquid is called lassi) from centuries and eat it with Roti(wheat) during day time in summer season. it is grown near hand pump or water tape.

    Reply
  • I found this recipe from an allotment website using two bumper crops this time of year: mint and courgettes to make a spaghetti sauce – it is simple, quick and delicious! Easy to adapt too (add nuts for crunch, soft cheese to make it more creamy):
    http://harrowinleaf.org.uk/recipe_dianacourgettespaghetti.html

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  • I love to put a sprig in a freshly made glass of lemonade. I recently moved my pot of mint to a more sunny location facing east and it’s doing much better.

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  • I keep my large pots of mint (chocolate, garden and pineapple varieties) in my pond on the first shelf. They love it and the fish chew the roots down when they get too big for the pot, so it’s a win win.

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  • I love mint but for the first time ever, I have a problem! Mint rust! I had to wrap up and destroy my Apple mint, now my Moroccan mint is heading the same way and I do not know what to do. I grow them in big 10+ litre pots, JI 3 plus multi purpose. Any ideas please ?

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  • I have mint..i have just repotted it salvaged from my old plants left alone for sometime..they grew thin and old. Fortunately i was able to revive it..but its not the same as before..I used to make mint tea before..thanks for the tips.

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  • I like 3 best. Mint for all. I’ve got at least a dozen varieties all in ten litre pots or bigger. I stand them in growbag trays for easy feeding – just fill the tray with very dilute feed and they slurp it up. But yes, comfrey/nettle or worm tea can get a bit smelly. I grow comfrey and nettles in containers too, to bring insects into the polytunnel and make tea. Though I have to admit that for most of the tea making they need to be out in the ground, mining minerals.

    Reply
  • Great post! Lots of brilliant ideas. I always have mint in a pot outside the kitchen door – to roughly chop it and add to mixed salad leaves. The mint transforms the taste

    Reply

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