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Mint: Invasive, smelly and tough

By Penny Stine

Depending on your perspective, the amount of space in your herb garden and your taste buds, mint can either be the greatest herb in the history of food or it can be regarded as just one step above an invasive weed.

Personally, I kind of like it simply because it smells good when you walk by and survives neglect, infrequent watering and no fertilization. That’s not to say I haven’t pulled lots of mint out of my various flower and herb beds, since mint is only slightly less tenacious than bindweed and will take over any herb or flower bed in one or two seasons, merely that I have lots of room and mint lets me be a lazy gardener.

Mint in the process of taking over my front flower bed

However, I’m not crazy about mint in my iced tea, and don’t want to don’t want to get in the habit of drinking mojitos several times a day to reduce my supply of mint, so I’m always looking for ways to use it in cooking.

I found an interesting recipe for cantaloupe mint soup, which I didn’t follow, but turned out rather good anyway. I’m listing my alterations rather than the original recipe, but will warn when I strayed.

Cantaloupe Mint Dessert

  • 6 C chunked cantaloupe (or one medium melon)
  • 3 – 4 sprigs fresh mint (the recipe said to use peppermint extract, but that eliminated the need for fresh mint, which was the whole point in googling weird recipes)
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp honey (recipe called for powdered sugar)
  • 1 container low-fat yogurt (recipe called for vanilla, which I didn’t have. I used key lime pie, since the dessert already had lime juice in it.)
  • 2 tbsp sour cream

Place melon, mint, lime zest and juice and honey in a food processor and process until fairly smooth, but not totally liquidized. Mix yogurt and sour cream in a bowl. Stir in cantaloupe mixture. Freeze for three or four hours before eating.
If you don’t want to freeze it, you can eat it as a soup, which is what the original recipe said to do. After four hours in the freezer, it was more like sorbet. Surprisingly good, especially for those who are trying to cut down on sugar, fat or traditional dairy products, although the yogurt and sour cream are no-nos for those who are totally lactose intolerant.

The green flecks of mint in the pale orange cantaloupe concoction add a confetti-like look to the dessert, which is always good if you like desserts made out of paper products.



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