Mint has an aromatic and cooling flavor; people often use it as a garnish for dishes and drinks.
You can use mint leaves in dishes like chicken and vegetable curries.
The plant is easy to grow but harvesting it may go wrong. You might wonder how to harvest mint without killing the plant; this article has the answer.
Mint is a fast-growing herb that can quickly take over a garden if left unchecked. To keep your mint patch under control, you’ll need to harvest it regularly.
Moreover, it would be best to harvest it carefully to avoid harming the plant.
Keep reading to learn how to harvest mint without killing the plant.
A Quick Look at Mint!
Mint is a plant that belongs to the genus Mentha of the Lamiaceae family. There are over 20 species of mints, but they all share similar characteristics, such as square stems and opposite leaves with serrated edges.
People have used mint leaves since ancient times for medicinal and culinary purposes. Ancient Romans and Greeks used mint to add flavor to dishes and also as a perfume. Ancient Hebrews also used mint as a scent because of its pleasant aroma.
Mint is an ever-present garnish in various cuisines worldwide.
This leafy green is easy to grow and requires no special attention or care.
Don’t worry! Harvesting mint is also not tough; you just have to pay a little attention, and you’ll get it right.
How to Harvest Mint Without Killing the Plant?
Here, we will discuss everything about harvesting and storing mint so you can consume your favorite herb all year round.
There are many ways to harvest mint leaves without killing the plant.
When to Harvest Mint?
The best time to harvest mint is in late spring or early summer—it is the same for garden mints and those growing in your container.
Before harvesting, a rule of thumb is to ensure the plant is mature enough. If the mint plant is young and the stem hasn’t grown 4 to 5 inches tall, harvesting it might not be a good idea. When the mint plant matures, it has the highest concentration of oils, aroma, and flavor.
Early morning is the best time to harvest mint when the dew drops are still on the leaves. Try to harvest in the morning when the leaves are at their freshest. Mint picked at this time will have their potent aroma and flavor at their peak.
Tips to Harvest Mint Without Killing the Plant!
Mint is harvested on a cut-and-come-again basis, but if it doesn’t come back after cutting, you might have killed the plant.
We are here to help you avoid this situation with our simple and effective tips.
Continue reading to learn how to harvest mint without killing the plant.
- The first step in harvesting mint is gathering your tools, including gardening shears and gloves. Make sure you sterilize your tools to avoid any potential damage to your plant. Unsterilized tools are likely to cause infections in your plants.
- You should know that mint plants take 2 to 3 weeks to grow back their foliage, so harvesting them on a large scale is not recommended. In contrast, the best practice is to harvest the mint regularly after short intervals and consume it fresh.
- Most people who have mint in their garden approach their mint plant right before using it in a recipe. If you are to make a mint margarita, go to your garden, take a hand full of mint, cut the leaves, and come back to your kitchen counter to relish your margarita; as simple as it is!
- Cut the top few inches of the plant using scissors or a sharp knife and then wait for new growth. Be sure to make clean, angled cuts rather than jagged ones.
- You’ll need more skills and patience to harvest in larger quantities. Using your gardening shears, cut about 1–2 inches of mint stalks, holding them in your hand and putting them aside in a collecting basket. You can cut up to 2/3rd of the plant.
- Repeat the process, harvest the whole field, and follow the tips mentioned below to get the new harvest of mint quickly.
- Once you’ve harvested the mint leaves, remove any dead leaves or stems from the plant. These can be composted or discarded. The new field of mint will be ready within a few weeks, so you need to be patient.
- Then, water the plant regularly to keep the soil moist and humid. It will help the plant recover from the harvesting stress and encourage new growth.
- Properly fertilize to replenish the soil nutrients, and you’ll have your new mint field ready within no time.
Now you know how to harvest mint without killing the plant.
How to Store Harvested Mint?
Like other leafy green veggies, mint loses its color and taste once cut.
Therefore, it is best to store this delicious herb properly if you are not using it immediately after harvesting.
When storing mint, the most important thing to remember is to keep it away from heat and direct sunlight—the best way to do this is to store mint in a cool, dry place.
Let’s look at the different methods to store mint.
Keeping It in Water
If you’re storing mint for more than a few days, it’s a good idea to keep it in water. It will help keep the mint leaves from drying out and prevent them from discoloring.
To store mint in water, place the mint leaves in a glass or jar. Ensure the water level is high enough to cover the leaves thoroughly. Then, place the jar in the fridge.
This method allows your mint leaves to remain fresh for 2–3 days.
The best way to store mint is by storing the leaves in the refrigerator. It will help prolong the shelf life of the mint and keep it fresh for longer.
To store mint in the fridge, please ensure that the leaves are clean and dry.
NOTE: Do not wash the harvested leaves; washing may cause them to wilt.
Pat the leaves dry with a paper towel if needed. Once the leaves are dry, please place them in a container with a lid or wrap them in plastic. Be sure not to overcrowd the container—that can cause the mint leaves to rot. Place the container of mint in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator and use it within 1–2 weeks for the best results.
When you’re ready to use the mint, remove the leaves from the container, rinse under cool water, and proceed with your recipe.
Freezing mint leaves is a unique and interesting way of storing them.
You must be wondering: How?
Take your mint leaves and rinse them under tap water. After drying them with a salad spinner or skip drying method, chop the leaves or grind them, adding a few drops of water. Put the fine paste of mint in ice cube trays and freeze it.
You can use these cubes in your beverages and other dishes.
Dry Mint Leaves
Drying is the best method of storing mint; you can use mint for about a year if dried.
Here are three methods to dry them out.
- Wash the mint leaves and let them dry in a salad spinner.
- Get a medium-sized paper bag and make a few holes on each side. Bundle 2–4 stalks of mint leaves together and put them inside the bag with the foliage sticking out. Secure the mint stalks by tying knots around them and hang the paper bag to let the mint dry.
- Place washed mint leaves on a baking sheet and bake them for around 20–30 minutes at 90–100°C.
Store your dried mint leaves in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
That would be all for today. Let’s head toward the conclusion.
Assuming you have a mint plant ready to harvest, this article features the best tips you can apply while harvesting your plant to prevent any damage whatsoever.
Harvesting mint properly leads to a healthier plant that continues to generate flavorful yields in the future. If you’ve picked more mint leaves than you need, or your mint is about to bolt, this article has a few simple and effective ways to store those extra leaves as well.
So, that was all you needed to know on how to harvest mint without killing the plant.
Let us know if this article was helpful and which storage method was best for storing your mint.