Just after sunrise this morning I put on my faithful, old Bean slip-on boots, and squished through the dew-laden grass to my mint patch in the garden. My mission was to harvest this season's first cutting of mint, when it would be at its optimal best, before the sun hit it.
You see, Papa Pea drinks a big mug of peppermint tea each and every morning after his cup of coffee. And I figure the best mint we can secure is that grown in our garden.
I hadn't taken the time to dress yet at that early hour so was still in my shortie pajamas and robe. Not wanting to kneel in the wet grass, I bent from the waist as I made my way around the mint snipping my harvest.
With a little imagination you can conjure up the sight this afforded to any early morning wildlife. Does the vision bring to mind those once popular wooden cut-outs of ample-bottomed grandmas bending over the flower bed? Well, I'm afraid my posture definitely exposed some tender body parts that must have screamed, "Look! Breakfast!" to a myriad of biting bugs. Not my most intelligent move of the week.
As I dropped the first cuttings into my bowl, I realized I had neglected to mulch around the plants and our frequent recent rains had splashed mud up onto the undersides of all those purdy, little, vibrantly green leaves. My bad. Sigh.
So, back into the kitchen with my bowl full of (muddy) mint where I put it through several gentle washing in cool water. Then a couple of twirls in my handy-dandy salad spinner (which I couldn't live without) and the mint is now drying on a towel . . .
. . . before I nip the leaves off their stems and put them in the dehydrator.
Not only does peppermint make good tasting tea, but it has other medicinal purposes.
It's a mouth and breath freshener, promotes digestion, soothes upset stomachs, balms made with a mint base rubbed on the forehead and nose give quick headache relief for some people, it alleviates inflammation and is a natural skin healer. It reduces respiratory problems and coughs, and is good for asthmatic sufferers. It's even been used as a stimulant to help with depression and fatigue. The list of mint's beneficial properties goes on and on. Makes me wonder why I don't grow an acre of the stuff and use it much more than I do! To my mind, having your own planting of mint in the garden is a very good thing.
Hmmm, I wonder if it would relieve the itching on my . . . oh, never mind.