English Name: Mentha/Mint
Common Indian Name (Hindi): Pudina
- Fresh mint is a perennial plant which is cultivated in many regions of the world these days. The most common and popular mints for cultivation are Peppermint (Mentha × piperita), Spearmint (Mentha spicata), and (more recently) apple mint (Mentha suaveolens).
- Leaf colors range from dark green and gray-green to purple, blue, and sometimes pale yellow. The leaves have a pleasant warm, fresh, aromatic, sweet flavor with a cool aftertaste. Mint leaves are used in teas, beverages, jellies, syrups, candies, and ice creams.
- They have wide-spreading underground rhizomes and erect, square, branched stems.
- The leaf, fresh or dried, is the culinary source of mint. Spearmint and peppermint are often the varieties of fresh mint that are used.
- The substances that give the mints their characteristic aromas and flavors are menthol (the main aroma of Peppermint and Japanese Peppermint) and pulegone (in Pennyroyal and Corsican Mint). The compound primarily responsible for the aroma and flavor of spearmint is R-carvone.
- The tender leaves of the mint plant are commonly found used in Middle Eastern cooking, as well as Thai and Vietnamese dishes. It pairs well with lamb, vegetables such as peas, fruits, salads, and of course chocolate!
- Peppermint has high menthol content, and is often used as tea and for flavoring ice cream, confectionary, chewing gum, and toothpaste. The oil also contains menthone and menthyl esters, particularly menthyl acetate. It is the oldest and most popular flavor of mint-flavored confectionery. Peppermint can also be found in some shampoos and soaps, which give the hair a minty scent and produce a cooling sensation on the skin.