Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Bringin' in the Mint

I'm keeping the dehydrator cranked up these days.  After the fruit leather came out, another batch of mint leaves went in.  They dry really fast, only about three hours at 110 degrees.


I'd been crushing the dried leaves with my hands, but thought of using the rolling pin yesterday morning.  Works much faster (duh!), but I have to be careful not to pulverize the devil out of the leaves using this handy tool.  Otherwise, I quickly end up with mint powder.

Collecting and laying out the mint leaves on the dehydrator trays is kind of time consuming, but I'm not married to a stupid man.  He keeps exclaiming how much better "my mint" makes his daily cup of tea compared to "store bought."

18 comments:

Rain said...

Hi Mama Pea :) I think what you're doing is a labour of love lol...I'm not patient with herb-drying at all...like you said, it's time consuming. But it's possible that I just have a crappy dehydrator and am not too motivated to use it!

Kristina said...

Home dried mint tea is the best! I love green tea made with spearmint leaves.

Michelle said...

Do you have to crush the leaves or would the whole dried leaves brew just as well?

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Now my desire to get a dehydrator has ramped up! I have a mint plant that is incredibly generous this season and am running out of ideas for mint....I clearly need to dry it!

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Our dehydrator is an old Bee Beyer model with stainless steel screening on the trays and a metal cabinet. We feel it's superior to the plastic dehydrators because there's no danger of the food in contact with the plastic trays being contaminated with the out-gassing from the plastic. Think of it . . . the plastic gets heated up as well as the food on it, so wouldn't there be the possibility of the inedible qualities of the plastic being transferred to the food? We don't want to be consuming that!

Mama Pea said...

Kristina - Yes! I'm not fond of peppermint tea but I love spearmint!

Mama Pea said...

Michelle - I don't think you'd get as much flavor from the whole leaves. Crushing the leaves creates so many more surfaces in the mint to come into contact with the hot water. And any store bought mint I've seen has always been crushed or crumbled or cut. How 'bout a side by side comparison?

Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - Yes, m'dear, you need to get a good dehydrator! I have onion rings I dried 10 years ago (kept in a jar with canning ring and lid on it) and they are still aromatic and good! I've always wanted to make mint jelly. Would you use fresh mint or dried mint in that? I'd have to check recipes.

Goatldi said...

I am living vicariously through everyone else this year. We had a horrible intense heat wave come through for over a week when everything was trying to bloom. As a result we got nothing but a few beets and radishes. Everything else fried on the plant. I am very disappointed and it is too late to replant. Thank God for farmers market!

Rain said...

I agree. Mine is the plastic one, but I always line it with parchment no matter what. One of these days I'd like to get a better one. I think it'll wait until I start canning and preserving more seriously though.

Mama Pea said...

Rain - Lining the plastic trays with parchment paper is a darn good idea!

Mama Pea said...

Goatldi - I've had years when certain crops failed but, oh, to lose just about everything . . . that would be so hard. For this year, the Farmer's Market is a blessing for you. Use it and enjoy it!

Susan said...

I bet that your mint tea is SO much better (and cheaper) than store-bought - even if it is a tad labor intensive. I have dried it before, but did not break it down as much as you have. That may be why it was a little disappointing, flavor-wise. I am hoping I can get to my mint before it 'goes over' but I'm not holding my breath.

Mama Pea said...

Susan - It's important to harvest your mint before it blossoms, too. Just make sure you're not feeling aggressive when you crush your mint. It's easy to crush it too much! (Then you'd be straining green powder through your teeth!)

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

I would think fresh mint for the jelly. I used to work with someone who made jalapeno mint jelly with fresh mint and fresh jalapenos. Quite delicious with cream cheese on crackers.

Mama Pea said...

MrsDM - I'm sure you're right in that the mint for any jelly would have to be fresh. I've had the mint and jalapeno jelly on cream cheese and it is G-O-O-D!

Sandy said...

Mama Pea,

My comment transmitted again before finishing....darn computer!!!!

Have you ever tried dehydrating your herbs in your vehicle? I've had friends do this and it goes pretty fast. They tie it up and hang the bundles in the dash of their vehicles.

Hugs,
Sandy

Mama Pea said...

Sandy - Well, that's one I've never tried! But there certainly have been times when I've gotten into one of our vehicles and it felt like an oven on high!!