Mint has been a valued plant since the ancient world. In mythology, a nymph named Mentha caught Pluto’s eye; his wife, Persephone, crushed her underfoot in a jealous rage. Although Pluto could not save Mentha, he did change her into a delightfully fragrant herb. Of the many types of mint, only peppermint and spearmint really have a place in the spice rack.
Spearmint is the mint used most often in cooking. The Romans introduced spearmint to the English, who use it both as a summer herb flavor for fresh garden vegetables, and to make the well-known mint jelly or mint sauce which traditionally accompanies roast lamb or mutton dishes. It’s also used in Pimms No. 1 Cup. In India, many chutneys begin with the grinding of coconut and mint. Usually mint is considered to pair well with lamb, duck, chicken, pork or veal in the meat department. Many vegetables dishes benefit from the addition of mint, as do Asian dipping sauces, beans, lentils and tabbouleh. It adds just the right refreshing touch to fruits and fruit salads. As far as drinks go, one would never make a mint julep or a mojito without mint, the additional of mint is why they are so refreshing.