From chocolate mint to mojito mint: There are hardly any limits to the taste of the new mint cultivars. Here are the most popular species and varieties.
The genus of mints (Mentha) includes about 30 species. These popular and delicious herbs are used all too readily to breed new varieties. They come in ever crazier and more unusual flavors. Here are the best mint species and mint varieties, including their uses in the kitchen.
Banana mint (Mentha arvensis ‘Banana’)
Banana mint is a variety of field or corn mint (Mentha arvensis). The cultivation really tastes and smells like banana. In addition, it is considered very gentle on the stomach. However, experimentation is called for when using it: the very individual aroma transforms puddings, cakes, creams and fruit salads into completely new taste experiences.
With a growth height of only 50 centimeters (20 in), one pot is quite sufficient for banana mint. The plant grows rather slowly and is watered only moderately, but regularly. Make sure that the plant is placed in an off-sun location.
Chocolate Mint (Mentha x piperita var. piperita ‘Chocolate’)
Chocolate mint actually resembles mint chocolate in its scent and taste. The cultivation from the well-known peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is therefore also used almost exclusively in desserts. In addition to cakes, puddings and creams, it can also be used to sweeten various types of ice cream. But it also gives coffee or liqueur that certain something.
To enjoy the unique fragrance, it is recommended to cultivate the chocolate mint in a pot and place it on the terrace or balcony. With plenty of water and sun, the perennial plant can be successfully grown for several years and harvest the leaves of mint.
Mojito Mint (Mentha species ‘Nemorosa’)
Mojito mint is used for refining cocktails. The mint variety contains very little menthol, i.e. it does not numb the taste buds, but merely releases its fine aroma into the drink. This also makes it interesting for iced soft drinks and lemonades. Cold water, a squeeze of lemon or lime and, of course, fresh leaves of mojito mint make a tasty summer drink.
The vigorous and persistent mojito mint can be grown in the bed, in the herb spiral or on the balcony and terrace. It, too, does not want to be in the blazing midday sun, but it needs plenty of light to develop its full flavor.
Pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’).
This mint variety is a real eye-catcher visually. In fact, pineapple mint has white-spotted, slightly hairy leaves, remains very compact in its growth and is an absolute winner both in pots and in perennial borders.
The fragrant plant grows a good 70 centimeters (28 in) tall and prefers partially shady conditions. Unfortunately, the pineapple aroma is difficult to smell or taste. In cold drinks, it is almost not detectable at all, tea should steep covered for at least 15 minutes to get a pineapple aroma.
Strawberry Mint (Mentha species ‘Strawberry’)
Strawberry mint has little or no minty taste. But it has a very special scent experience: While a pure strawberry aroma rises when you touch the leaves, the scent changes when you grind them between your fingers and becomes more tart, darker and very intense. In the kitchen, strawberry mint is used for delicious teas, preferably refined with a spoonful of honey, and for desserts. It adds a very special note to strawberry daiquiris. As an iced refreshing drink for the summer, simply add a handful of leaves to a pot of water and leave the whole thing in the refrigerator overnight: ready!
Strawberry mint has a very compact growth and takes up little space for itself. This makes it the perfect edible plant for the balcony. Give the strawberry mint a humus rich substrate and a bright, but not full sun location. Regular watering, a little organic fertilizer every six weeks during the summer months and a strong pruning in the spring, and you will long enjoy your perennial strawberry mint.