Mmmm mint! One of my very favourite flavours and scents! There are actually many flavours of mint, but the most common are spear mint and pepper mint. Spear mint is the kind that thrives here in our kitchen garden at the museum. In fact, all mints live heartily near pools of water, lakes, rivers, and cool moist spots, with this fast-spreading herb growing spikes in midsummer with small white, pink or purple flowers in them. Mint grows year round, usable fresh or dried and is delicious in cold or hot tea. They are also supposed to be good companion plants, repelling pests and attracting helpful insects, and this is why it is so great that it is in our garden. Mint oil is also used as an environmentally friendly insecticide, because it can safely kill some common pests such as wasps, hornets, ants, and cockroaches.
Like sage, it was also grown by the Romans, and was a part of English gardens since the 800s. During Medieval times, mint was used to freshen up the air by spreading it on the floor, as well as to repel insects in a perfume. It has been said that its good for the stomach, and to sweeten sauces with, since the 1400s and after sage, it was the most widely grown herb in North America, being used for sauces, teas and essential oils.
Until next week,