Peppermint

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CB4
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Peppermint

Post by CB4 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:32 pm

Peppermint has been said to have a wide variety of uses, including upset stomach remedy, sinus decongestant, digestion aide, increase alertness, breath freshener and more. It certainly works for me for at least 3 or 4 of these.

I understand it comes in many forms, like leaves, oil, powder, etc.
I would like to stock peppermint in some form.

My questions are: Do you stock peppermint? In what form does it have the best shelf life, and in what form should it be stocked to use it best or get the most uses out of it?
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Re: Peppermint

Post by Real_Ale_Act » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:47 pm

If you have any dirt, including enough to fill a flowerpot, you can grow it. It's one of the most competitive plants out there and will take over any open space you give it. So it's actually best planted in pots.

Care is easy once it's established, and you can propagate new ones by digging some out of where it is and planting it in yet another pot. It can root from a piece of broken stem with a leaf or two on it.

Again, don't plant it in open dirt unless you want it to really take over, or you're growing it as a cash crop.
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Re: Peppermint

Post by offcamber » Thu Jan 14, 2010 3:58 pm

Real_Ale_Act wrote:If you have any dirt, including enough to fill a flowerpot, you can grow it. It's one of the most competitive plants out there and will take over any open space you give it.
QFT, I've got the stuff all over behind my barn. We use it a lot for cooking as well.

I've got this one variety that takes like mint chocolate.. it kicks ass.

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Re: Peppermint

Post by Chantrea » Thu Jan 14, 2010 4:57 pm

OMG you don't have to stock it! Just plant some somewhere. It's indestructable (though I guess if you live in a harsh climate, you'll probably want some indoor plants and/or to save some seed). If you really want some dried for the winter months, it might give you incentive to mow it down and dry it to keep it in check. You can have lots of fun with the different kinds of mint too. I love the "chocolate mint" but my all time fave is pineapple mint. :)

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Re: Peppermint

Post by CB4 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:09 pm

if I were to grow my own and dry the leaves, how would I store it and how long would it keep?
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Re: Peppermint

Post by Ad'lan » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:34 pm

Pepper Mint occupies my herb patch, and is virulent, it's an awesome plant.

To preserve, hang upside down, bound with twine, and dry for 3 weeks, in a dry enviroment, like a pantry, or kitchen.
Or, seal in a plastic bag, and freeze, lasts for ever.

You can also distill off the peppermint oil.
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Re: Peppermint

Post by Rush2112 » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:43 pm

Ad'lan wrote:You can also distill off the peppermint oil.

I've been trying to find a way to distill essential oils from plants ever since I found out you can do this with wintergreen, which grows all over the place around here. However, it seems you have to pay a bunch of money for an essential oils still. They look like they belong in a mad scientist's lab.
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Re: Peppermint

Post by Skindad88 » Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:02 am

this peaked my interest, so I did some reading and found this site http://www.gardenguides.com/481-growing ... rmint.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
It says: "(if you've got the space, freezing mint is one of the best ways we've seen to retain the herb's essential oils)."
So this might be an option for you. And as far as I can tell once you extract the essential oils, you can store them in a small vial (thats how you can buy them in the stores), pretty much indefinately.

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Re: Peppermint

Post by Cnidaria » Fri Jan 15, 2010 3:45 pm

Mint is the best. You can make a tea of fresh or dried mint for just about any ailment.

For sinus problems, make a tea of mint and thyme and inhale the fumes (you can also drink it)
For stress, tension headache, or sore muscles, combine with chamomile and drink the tea.
If you are sick, mint, rosehip, honey and ginger make a great tea. Mint relieves pain and clears the sinuses. Rosehips have tons of vitamin C, honey and ginger are antibacterial, and ginger settles upset stomaches. If you are sick, you should also eat bacon because it contains zinc (and makes you feel better because it is delicous).

Mint can be shredded, put into ice cube trays and covered with a little water. These cubes can be popped into hot water or into a blender with booze.

I am not a doctor, use at your own risk. Be aware of allergies and always consult a doctor first. This is not a substitute for medical treatment.

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Re: Peppermint

Post by Real_Ale_Act » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:43 pm

Cnidaria wrote:
Mint can be shredded, put into ice cube trays and covered with a little water. These cubes can be popped into hot water or into a blender with booze.
Holy shit. That's full of win. I sense mint juleps coming on...
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Re: Peppermint

Post by Hannibal » Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:52 pm

+1 on the potting the mint. Being a fan of Mojitos I was tired of buying mint at silly prices from the grocer. Put a bunch in a pot and never paid for it again. A very very invasive plant. Works well in beds since the roots seem to go across the ground.

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Re: Peppermint

Post by gardener » Fri Jan 15, 2010 5:54 pm

IIRC you can't grow peppermint from seed; you have to start out with a transplant.

That said, yes it does propagate like crazy (as do all mints) and will bid to take over your garden if you plant it into the ground.

I've tried growing mints in pots before and I don't think they do as well as in the ground. My current setup is a raised wooden bed devoted strictly to mint. (I started out with spearmint, peppermint, and an apple mint... who knows what it all is now; I suspect that the spearmint has largely taken over.) The bed is 18" high x about 6-8' long x 3-4' wide. (Sorry for the vagueness; it was built quite a while ago so without going outside to measure it, the only dimension I am absolutely sure of is the height.) The bed allows me to have a nice stand of mint without fighting to keep it from taking over the garden, and it has enough soil in there that the mint does far better than it ever did for me in a pot. (It does well enough that every summer I have to hack it back as it keeps overflowing the edges.)

That said, don't repeat my mistake of trying to put 3 different mints into one bed - because who knows which one will win in the end. One mint, one bed.

And yeah, we have WAY more mint than we ever use... :roll:

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Re: Peppermint

Post by Cnidaria » Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:23 pm

gardener wrote:IIRC you can't grow peppermint from seed; you have to start out with a transplant.
I've grown Mentha piperita from seed, no problem. It is easier to start from cuttings, though. If you plan on saving seeds, make sure you only plant one variety, because crosses tend to taste gross.

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Re: Peppermint

Post by Ad'lan » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:10 am

Rush2112 wrote:
Ad'lan wrote:You can also distill off the peppermint oil.

I've been trying to find a way to distill essential oils from plants ever since I found out you can do this with wintergreen, which grows all over the place around here. However, it seems you have to pay a bunch of money for an essential oils still. They look like they belong in a mad scientist's lab.
A decent Lab set is quite expensive. As a Mad Scientist, oneday, I will have my own evil laboratory, and I'll distill, reflux and titrate to my hearts content.
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Re: Peppermint

Post by gardener » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:41 pm

Re "growing peppermint from seed"...

From the bottom of this page http://www.henriettesherbal.com/archive ... rmint.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; :

From: Conrad Richter <conrad.RICHTERS.COM>

> >Keep in mind that true peppermint (M. piperita vulgaris) is sterile, and does not produce seeds. Quite often, different mints are sold by seed as "peppermint". True peppermint can only be propagated by vegetative methods (cuttings). So if you want peppermint, buy a plant from a reputable garden center, or take a cutting from one that you know for sure is peppermint.
> Peppermint will grow freom seed but is variable.

I am afraid that this last statement is not correct. What is offered for sale as "peppermint" seed is, in fact, an inferior type of spearmint, Mentha spicata. The usual strain offered has a strong "menthol" flavour, so it may resemble peppermint in odour; but the vegetative and floral characteristics all point to M. spicata.

The first comment is correct -- true peppermint is a sterile hybrid and unless someone goes through the trouble of crosspollinating the putative parent species, you won't get true peppermint seed.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

From: Conrad Richter <conrad.RICHTERS.COM>

> Peppermint does grow from seed- I have done it - but the question is why would you want too?

Are the flowers in dense spikes and leaves petioled? Or, are the spikes interrupted and leaves sessile or nearly so? The "menthol" strains of Mentha spicata that are commonly sold as "peppermint" are definitely sessile and would yield viable seed. They have fooled countless people both in the horticultural industry and the consumer market. I still see these rogue "peppermint" plants at otherwise respectable nurseries throughout North America.

The true peppermint strains are sterile hybrids between M. aquatica and M. spicata. Even if someone had the time and energy to crosspollinate the parents the viability of the seeds would probably be quite low and in any case selective breeding would be required to get something resembling the type variety.

(... and then there's the menthol-rich species of Mentha arvensis ... --Henriette)

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Re: Peppermint

Post by gardener » Sat Jan 16, 2010 4:43 pm

See also the "Ecology" portion of the wikipedia entry on peppermint : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peppermint

True peppermint is sterile; if you want the real stuff, you have to propagate from cuttings.

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Re: Peppermint

Post by herbalpagan » Sat Jan 16, 2010 6:13 pm

I have many different kinds of mint; spearmint, peppermint, bergamot, lemon mint,apple mint, cat mint (catnip), orange mint, penny royal (flea balm) and chocolate mint. Most mints are good for an upset tummy and also as a "pick me up" type of tea. People used to flavor a lot of things like frosting with mint extract, but not so much now.
I make lots of different teas with all of my mints, as well as bath salts, soap and stuff like that. Mint also has a mild antiseptic quality, so if you get a scrape, soak it in a mint tea. Chocolate mint is good in hot chocolate. Penny royal will keep even black flies off of you, cat mint, also known at cat nip, will work the oposite on humans and sooth and relax them. Bee balm or bergamot was used to make a tea, called "Oswego Tea" by the patriots after they dumped the tea. Most iced tea will benefit from many of the mints (except penny royal).
Growing mint is so easy it's not funny. Just ask a gardener friend if they have any you could have. I grow my mints in tires, but pots are ok too. Mints will naturalize very well, so if you live near a park, just take any of your mint thinnings and scratch away a little soil and drop the thinnings into the soil.
To dry mint leaves, just hang upside down. Put in a glass jar when completely dry and they will keep for a year or two.
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Re: Peppermint

Post by Towanda » Sat Jan 16, 2010 8:46 pm

Shameless plug: these folks owned the oldest working mint farm in the country and were foreclosed on last year. They sold enough inventory to make a bid on the farm when it came up for auction. The land wound up being sold in two parcels, though I have not found any news about whether their bid was one of the successful ones.

Get Mint Trading Co.

I don't know these people personally, but I have a bunch of their peppermint oil. It's very high quality. They still have plenty of mint products for sale.
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