Herbal History Herbal History
Herbs for Beginners Cooking with Herbs

Garden Herbs

Spearmint

 
Mint (Mentha viridis). Known also as Spearmint. It must be grown from divisions. Between the delicacy of fresh young green leaves and those which have been dried with the utmost care there is so wide a difference that the practice of forcing from November to May is fully justified. This is easily accomplished by packing roots in a box and keeping them moist in a temperature of 60. Where this is impossible, stems must be cut, bunched, and hung in a cool store for use during winter and spring. Mint grows vigorously in damp soil, and the bed should have occasional attention, to prevent plants from extending beyond their proper
boundary. To secure young and luxuriant growth a fresh plantation should be made annually in February or March. If allowed to occupy the same plot of land year after year the leaves become small and the stems wiry.

Description
Spearmint in its general characteristics resembles peppermint, but it is rather more vigorous in its growth, the lance-shaped leaves are generally stem less, and the flower spikes are narrow and pointed rather than thick and blunt.

Culture
Grow Spearmint as you would any other member of the Mint family. It is a perennial growing to 3 feet tall and is tolerable of many different growing conditions. As with Peppermint, it can become invasive, so plant it in an area where it can be controlled and won't crowd out other garden plants. Spearmint grows well in nearly all climates. Gardeners often grow healthy specimens in pots or planters due to its invasive spreading nature. The plant prefers partial shade, but it can flourish in full sun to mostly shade. Loamy soils with plenty of organic material are best suited to spearmint. When growing spearmint for culinary purposes, fertilize with a well balanced fertilizer, organic composts, or manure. To harvest for culinary purposes, simply cut the branches, leaving a minimum of 1/3 of the branch, which will encourage the plant to bush out. Spearmint leaves can be used whole, chopped, or dried.

Harvesting
When the plants are breaking into bloom, the stalks should be cut a few inches above the root, on a dry day, after the dew has disappeared, and before the hot sun has taken any oil from the leaves, and dried for culinary use for the winter. All discolored and insect-eaten leaves should be removed and the stems tied loosely into bunches and hung to dry on strings in the usual manner directed for 'bunched' herbs. The bunches should be nearly equal in length and uniform in size to facilitate packing, if intended for sale, and placed when dry in airtight boxes to prevent re-absorption of moisture.

The leaves may also be stripped from the stems as soon as thoroughly dry and rubbed through a fine sieve, so as to be freed from stalks as much as possible, or pounded in a mortar and thus powdered, stored in stopper bottles or tins rendered airtight. If preparing for market and not for home use, the rubbed herbs will, of course, command a higher price than the bunched herbs, and should be put up in tins or bottles containing a quantity of uniform weight.

Use
The dried leaves and flowering tops, collected before the flowers are fully developed. Spearmint is cultivated like peppermint for the production of oil.

Mint Jelly

Garden Herbs

  Home
  History of Herbs
  Herb Gardening
  Herbs for Beginners
  Drying & Preserving Herbs
  Indoor Herb Gardening
  Herb Garden Hints & Tips

Herbal Cooking

  Herb Chart
  Using Herbs
  Culinary Herbs
  Herb Oil and Vinegar
  Herb Teas
  Herb Candy
  Herb Jelly

Herb Simples

  Preface
  Introduction
  Alphabetical Listing

Trade Recipes Online
Share your Recipes with others!!

 

 

Copyright 2005- Garden Herbs