Oh, I've been at it again--sinking myself into seed catalogs and websites and hardware stores, anticipating spring and doing a pretty decent job of planting cool weather stuff. This year, it looks like I'm going to dedicate a decent part of my planting obsession to mint. Yes, its humble, and I do know people who literally weed great swathes of it out of the garden, and the yard, and the cracks between the sidewalks.... But it's also quite tasty, and easy to grow, and best attribute at this point in the year: you can plant it now! I've already got a Berries 'n Cream mint from Stanley's Greenhouse in one pot, an orange mint from the same source in another, and a peppermint from Knox Feed and Seed in a tiny corner of the bird feeder area in front of the kitchen window.
I've got my eye on many, many more, since they'll fill in the part shade areas and ward off some insects and of course you can add them to tea and make other stuff. I'm particularly fond of a handful of minced spearmint added at just the last second to olive-oil and lemon juice sautéed carrot matchsticks (more about the carrots I've just planted another time). But there is also this mint punch recipe I found when researching companion planting and mint. It's from the Our Herb Garden website, and it's plenty tasty and can be made right this minute while the mints are still tender and flavorful. If you're worried about the sugar in the ginger ale, consider a cup of strong brewed ginger tea and seltzer water. I of course don't worry about it given the potent vitamins and attitude-lifting "spring around the corner" mint the punch contains. (And if you plunk in a bit of rum for a pseudo mojito, who am I to judge?)
Mint Punch Recipe
This cool and refreshing mint drink recipe is for a traditional non-alcoholic mint punch made from fresh mint leaves, grape and lemon juice and ginger ale.
Fresh mint leaves make the tastiest mint punch.
This mint drink recipe is super easy and quick. Your friends and family will be asking for more!
Harvest a quart of fresh spearmint or mint leaves. Wash with cool water and dry using a clean kitchen towel.
Put the peppermint leaves in a glass jar that can withstand boiling water. Mash the leaves with a wooden spoon until they are soft. Pour boiling water over the leaves and allow to infuse for 10 minutes.
Strain out the leaves and refrigerate.
Once the mint drink mixture has cooled, add two cups of grape juice and lemon juice to taste. Sweeten with sugar and then add a quart of ginger ale.
Serve your mint punch on ice with a sprig of mint leaves for a garnish.
(Recipe courtesy ourherbgarden.com)