Planter to Table – the stories of a passionate brown thumb gardener and cook.
by Paula Douer
These days it seems that everyone would prefer fresh, but in the case of mint I must advocate for both equally. Fresh mint is beautifully aromatic and poignant, but occasionally can take over a dish leaving all the other flavors behind. Dry mint is a bit milder and, in some ways, easier to use for the novice since you can add it without fear of overseasoning.
Recently, I have been using fresh mint more in my cooking. I’m trying to consume as much as possible now that I am growing my mint in a TruDrop container and the herbs are multiplying wildly. However, this past week I realized that even with my multiple minty cooking endeavors and all the mint teas my 5-year-old boy was requesting I simply wasn’t going to use all the fresh mint growing in my planter. (On a side note, it might sound promising that I have a budding tea sommelier on my hands. But then I realized that it’s his sneaky way to get a hold of the sugar bowl and pour as much as possible into warm water to create a sugary elixir before going to bed. His resulting high energy was making bedtime more like wildtime!)
Childhood memories of pulling dried mint from their stems reminded me than I could prune back my mint and dry as much as possible. At home growing up we would dry it outdoors in the sun, but where we live now in South Florida it can be a challenge to coordinate between rain showers during the spring. I discoverd a simpler process that involves setting the mint on a baking tray in the oven at 150 degrees for 2-3 hours until the leaves crisp up and are easily removed from the stems.
While Trudrop planters have helped me in growing my own fresh produce, what I really love to do is cook. Below is a great recipe that was actually developed with my 9-year-old , who loves this recipe when I leave out the radishes. You can replace the fresh mint for dry mint anytime. Simply remember to increase the quantity slightly.
For the Salad:
- 4 radishes sliced thin
- 2 small tomatoes quartered
- 2 persian cucumbers sliced thin (my preference is for Persian cucumbers because I love to leave the skins on my cucumbers and these have thinner skin than typical supermarket varieties, but any variety can be used.)
- 1-2 Romaine hearts sliced
- 2-3 sprigs of mint leaves finely chopped
- 4 sprigs of parsley finely chopped
For the Dressing:
Whisk in a bowl the following ingredients:
- 1 garlic clove mashed in a mortar and pestle, (alternatively use a garlic press)
- Juice of half a lemon
- Juice of half a lime, (you can also use all lime or lemon. I like to mix the two to add the acidity of the lime and the sweetness of the lemon.)
- Measure the lime and lemon juice together and use an equal amount of olive oil
- Salt and Pepper