There are over 30 varieties of mint with the two most popular being peppermint and spearmint. Peppermint has bright green leaves, purple-tinged stems, a peppery taste and a more pungent aroma than spearmint. In contrast, spearmint leaves are gray-green or true green and have a milder flavor and fragrance. Mint grows wild throughout the world and is cultivated in Europe, United States and Asia.
Mint is easy to grow, however take care of where you plant mint. You need to plant it in a place where it will not overtake your other herbs. Left on its own, mint will spread like crazy throughout your garden.
When purchasing mint at the supermarket, look for leaves that are evenly colored with no signs of wilting. Mint can be stored, stems down in a glass of water with a plastic bag over the leaves in the refrigerator for about one week. Make sure that you change the water every few days to maximize freshness.
Fresh mint can be used in both savory and sweet dishes and drinks, as well as a great garnish to finish off many deserts. Two of the most notable uses for mint are in cocktails, the traditional Mint Julep and more recently, the popular Mojito.