Mint is a famous herb that is used in various applications – from toothpaste to teas, cocktails, and meals. Growing mint is relatively easy, but harvesting it can be tricky.
You have to do it properly otherwise mint becomes invasive and spreads everywhere in the garden!
Don’t worry, harvesting mint from your own garden is quite a delightful experience that allows you to enjoy the refreshing aroma and flavor of this versatile herb.
In this article, we will cover the basic steps of harvesting mint for long-term use. So, grab your gardening shears and let’s get started!
The Best Way To Harvest Mint
Harvesting mint properly is a crucial step to get the best flavor and fragrance. Knowing when to harvest mint plays a very important role because you don’t want to harvest it too early!
It is best to harvest mint once it has grown about four inches tall. I would recommend you to do it in the morning, although you can do it any time of the day.
Keep in mind that you should harvest it before the blooming period (June-September) because leaf production will be reduced once the plant blooms. Sure, you can continue to harvest it after blooming, but it won’t be as flavorful.
When it comes to harvesting techniques, it is best to use scissors or bypass pruners for cutting. Make sure to always clean them before and after cutting.
If you need a few leaves for garnish, you can simply pluck them off. However, you can also cut the entire stem if you need more leaves. When cutting the entire stem, you should first find a leaf node where new leaves are about to grow and cut the stem immediately above it.
Remember not to cut more than ⅔ of the plant because this might damage it and reduce growth and development. This can be done 3 to 4 times during one growing season. It usually takes about 2-3 weeks for new leaves to grow.
If you don’t harvest mint, you can use it as a walkable ground cover instead!
Tips For Properly Storing Mint
If you want to keep your mint fresh and flavorful for an extended period of time, then it is just as important to properly store it.
Keeping it in cool temperatures will prevent wilting. Mint stems can either go directly into a glass of water or a plastic bag after being wrapped in a wet paper towel. Then you should put it in the refrigerator, where it will last for 7 to 10 days.
If you have a large quantity of mint or want to preserve it for a longer time, freezing is a great option. Simply spread the clean and dry mint leaves on a baking sheet in a single layer and then place them in the freezer until they are frozen.
Then, put the frozen leaves into a freezer-safe bag or container. Frozen mint can retain its flavor for several months!
Another way to store mint is by drying it – this is what I always do with my strawberry mint. So, let’s see how to store it correctly!
How To Dry Mint
Drying mint is a simple and effective way to preserve its flavor for later use. Start by collecting the stems and then tying them together with a string or rubber band. Make sure the bundle is not too thick to allow good airflow.
Hang the bundle in a dry and well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. Let it hang for about 1 to 2 weeks until the leaves become dry and brittle. If the leaves crumble and fall off the stem, it means that they are fully dry.
Carefully remove the leaves and put them in a jar or airtight bag. Store them somewhere cool and make sure to label the bag. The flavor should last for about one year.
We have already mentioned that mint has many uses – it can be used for culinary, cosmetic, medicinal, and therapeutic purposes. Here are some creative and effective ways to get the most out of mint:
There are tons of different recipes available online, so get creative and use your mint wisely.