Fresh mint is a great cooking resource; expect to see it again in a few more recipes. You can buy packaged bunches of fresh mint sprigs or potted mint plants in supermarkets. The plants can survive a suprising amount of neglect (unlike, say, basil), thus they’re compatible with nerd kitchen. Of course, once you’ve discovered fresh mint for yourself, you’ll likely consume your plant to stumps before it has a chance to wilt.
The most straightforward use is to give a handful of mint sprigs a quick wash and then steep them in piping hot water. Sweeten to taste (honey is traditional, but artificial sweetener works just fine too). Voilà: fresh mint tea. Try it; it’s quite different from the dried mint that comes in bags.
You can also add some of green tea (for Moroccan mint tea) or — my favorite — some black tea. Make sure you don’t leave the tea in for more than a couple of minutes, or the mixture will turn bitter. You can leave the mint leaves in, though.
Fresh mint can also be used in cold drinks. A particularly nice combination is mint lemonade. Simply squeeze half a lemon — or better yet, an entire lime — into a pitcher (1.5 l) of iced water, add a bunch of fresh mint sprigs, and stir vigorously so as to crush the leaves and release the flavor. Sweeten to taste. For remorse-free thirst quenching, use artificial sweetener. Depending on the brand, it won’t dissolve well in cold water, though; you might have to liquefy it with a small amount of hot water beforehand.
Freshly squeezed lemonade can also be sweetened with raspberry syrup, and if you use sparkling instead of plain water, you end up with what’s called Skiwasser in the Austrian alps. I’ve never tried that with mint, though.
What are your favorite mint drinks?