Friday, October 16, 2015

Processing the Mint

Did you know peppermint tea will almost always soothe a tummyache?  I can vouch for that fact.  I also know peppermint tea gives me a headache (how strange is that?), but I don't hesitate to sip a cup of it on the rare occasions when I have an upset tum-tum.

Papa Pea, on the other hand, thrives on his mug of peppermint tea which he consumes every morning.  First he has a cup of good strong coffee, then follows that with a big mug of tea.  (No, his cup of coffee doesn't give him a tummyache!)

So you can imagine, in a year, we go through a lot of the stuff.  I've been ordering a pound of it at a time (organically grown, of course, and a pound lasts us a year) through our co-op, but it's been getting so expensive that this spring I decided it was time to grow our own.  I should have done so long ago, but some things take longer than others to penetrate the cobwebs of my mind.

I didn't start the plants from seed (should have) and could find only two plants in our local nurseries so that's what I planted.

I harvested and dried the first batch as soon as the plants were big enough.  Hubby did a taste test and pronounced it, "Good!"

Just this week I took a last cutting and dried a total of 12 trays full in our very old, but wonderful, Bee Beyer dehydrator.

How much did I get from those 12 full trays?  Two cups.  One pint.  No wonder the darn stuff is so expensive when purchased.

I know mint plants spread and these two plants I set in at the end of one 4' x 8' raised bed are already covering about one-fourth of the bed.  I think I'll let it spread as much as it wants within the bed because I'm going to need a lot of it to get enough for our year's supply.


Laurie said...

How does Papa Pea make the peppermint tea?

Sandy Livesay said...

Mama Pea,

We love mint tea for calming the belly, or getting rid of that awful taste of something one ate that didn't agree with the body.

I've hung my peppermint upside down in the kitchen to dry naturally........actually, I was lazy to bring in the dehydrator and listen to it run.....LOL!!!!

This year, I grew a mint called apple mint. I never heard of it before. It's got these real thick and velvety leaves.

I wonder if you're allergic to mint??

Sparkless said...

Love my mint plants because they grow like crazy and I can cut as much of them as I want. My daughter drinks mint tea for a gassy tummy. She's always had trouble with gas since she was a baby. We are going to grow some spearmint because that with peppermint makes a flavour that my daughter loves best.

Mama Pea said...

Laurie - He fills a teaball and lets the leaves steep (with a cover over the mug) in hot water for a long time . . . he likes his peppermint tea strong.

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - I have our dehydrator set up on the corner of a bench in hubby's workshop, but I know someday he's gonna want that space and then . . . ? Yes, the noise of it running for hours can be irritating if it's in the house proper.

Strange as it sounds, peppermint is the only mint that gives me a headache. I love spearmint but it doesn't seem to work as well for tummy troubles as the peppermint does. I had almost forgotten about apple mint! I used to drink it frequently. What a nice flavor.

Mama Pea said...

Sparkless - I'll have to try mixing the spearmint (which I like!) in with the peppermint to see the results. Thanks for the suggestion!

Pioneer Woman at Heart said...

My dehydrator only has 4 trays. That is one nice dehydrator you have. I love peppermint in my hot chocolate too.

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - Only four trays? No wonder your dehydrating goes frustratingly slow! Bummer. :o(

gld said...

I have found that things that didn't used to bother me do now. Aging does some strange things to us.

I used to grow spearmint and chocolate mint until they got out of control. I would like to do so again. I am not nearly so fussy about things now that I am eliminating lots of flower beds. My Sis brought me down some tarragon, sage and something else ? That I am letting dry naturally on the back porch.
It is almost ready to strip from the stems.

Mama Pea said...

gld - I do think you're right about our bodies (hormones?) changing as we age. Heck, things even change from being children to young adults, so we should probably expect changes from young adults to older adults!

I should put in some spearmint this next spring as I do like that. Reminds me of Wrigley's Spearmint chewing gum! Do you remember that?