Let’s say that you are in this grocery store, grab a bunch of fresh mints, and start thinking about all the amazing dishes, cocktails, or teas you can make by using this fragrant herb.
From chocolate desserts with a punch of freshness to a feta salad, fresh pesto, maybe a digestive tea, the options, which include fresh mint, can be endless.
If this is one of your favorite fragrances, then you might get heartbroken once your fresh mint wilts are just days after you have bought them. And this is likely to happen before you even start using it.
Luckily for you, this article will tell you everything about the tips in storing fresh mint leaves and how you can use this herb for a long period of time.
Shelf Life Of Fresh Mint
Well, it is impossible not to have already enjoyed the benefits of fresh mint (1)and its unique flavor. Mint is a special herb that makes such a huge difference once included in a special dish.
However, in terms of shelf life, mint does not excel. Besides the fact that it might not be available the whole year round, mint has quite a short shelf life.
As such, once buying fresh mint, you cannot expect it to last too much. And it would be such a pity to find yourself throwing out a large amount of good mint if you do not store it right.
If you want to ensure that your fresh mint remains usable, and you have it at your fingertips for a long time, don’t forget to consider all the following storage methods.
How To Store Fresh Mint
Now, it is safe to say that wasting herbs can sometimes be tragic, especially if you need them to prepare a family’s favorite dish.
But today, you are about to learn some of my favorite tricks to store fresh mint, so you will increase the shelf life of this magic herb for weeks, maybe months. Ready? Let’s read some magic.
Treat Mint Like You Treat Flowers
Do you love flowers? Or, at least, have you taken care of them before? If the answer is yes, you got all the chances to make the fresh mint last longer.
The secret of keeping the bunch of mints all fresh is by looking to treat it as good as you would treat a nice bouquet. And here is how:
- Firstly, remove any rubber band that holds the mint together.
- Start trimming the end of stems, then cut all the leaves that are the closest ones from the ends. This step is critical, as you don’t want all the leaves to stay in the water, as they have all the chances to spoil quicker.
Furthermore, this step will ensure enough room for the other stems to soak in the water, which immediately will increase the shelf life (2) of mint. Don’t worry about the leaves you needed to cut, as you can use them for making delicious meals or fresh mint tea. This video will show you how to make a great tea.
- Take a mug or container, and add lots of water. Stick the mint stems in it so the water covers nicely all the cut ends.
- Cover the little contraption using a plastic bag, then leave the container in the fridge.
- Last but not least, don’t forget about this step: it is essential to water the fresh mint every two or three days. This way, the herb will maintain its freshness, while changing the water will prevent bacteria from growing and the herbs to start smelling unpleasant.
Keep in Mind!
This method is ideal for storing other herbs as well, such as basil, fresh scallions, or parsley. When storing basil, do not put it into the fridge.
Wrap The Mint Stems In Damp Paper Towel
If you want to store only mint leaves, this is the easiest way to make them stay fresh and ready to use for at least two weeks. You don’t need too much, just some damp paper towels. The wet paper towel works like a charm. Here are the steps:
- Take some paper towels and gently wet a couple of them. Make sure you are wringing out all the excessive water, so the towels are only a bit damp.
- Lay all the mint leaves on the damp paper towels, then wrap everything nicely. However, make sure that the paper towel is loose enough, as you don’t want to crush the mint leaves.
Furthermore, the paper towels should be generous enough, so the mint won’t fall out as soon as you lift up the wrap.
- Take the damp towels and place them into a plastic freezer bag. Also, be sure that the plastic bag is wide enough, so you won’t crush the mint leaves. A zip lock bag would be perfect. Seal it and place it in the fridge.
Keep In Mind!
Being gentle is the key in this process, as you want to take advantage of every tiny leave when making your favorite cocktail.
Storing Fresh Mint In The Freezer
If you want to keep the fresh herbs for a long time, for instance, you should consider the freezer method for some weeks, even months.
So this is the ideal solution if you want to have fresh mint at your fingertips and create a tasty mojito or some aromatic paste sauce, like this one.
Method 1: Freeze Mint leaves in Ice Cubes
- First things first, sort all the fresh mint leaves and make sure you remove all the damaged parts of them. Rinse them with water, then dry evenly using a paper towel.
- Take the empty ice cube tray, then place two-three leaves into each section. Fill the sections with water halfway.
- Once you fill each square, place the tray into the freezer.
- Once the cubes are frozen, remove the mint ones from the tray, then store all the cubes in freezer bags. They would work great for up to three months in cocktails or ice-tea.
- A great tip is to write the date in the bag.
Keep in Mind!
Delicate herbs, such as mint, or basil, even parsley, won’t retain their flavor so well once they are dried. So the ice cube method is great if you want to enjoy their aroma even in the middle of winter.
Method 2: Baking Sheets
As long as you will be storing the herbs attached to the stem, the majority of them will keep their flavor once stored in airtight freezer bags. But if you want to store only the leaves, the baking sheet solution is a great alternative.
- Spread the dried herbs in a single layer, on a baking sheet, or a large plate, then put them in a freezer for a couple of hours.
- Transfer the frozen mint to a freezer bag or a container, so you can use them as soon as you need it.
Method 3: Purée Fresh Herb Leaves
This method is easy to apply and really effective if you want to make delicious recipes using mint. In addition to the fresh mint, you will use garlic, olive oil, and some small jars:
- Wash the fresh mint leaves evenly.
- Use a blender for smashing the mint with fresh garlic and a bit of olive oil.
- Take the puree and put it in the small jars, then place them into the freezer.
Using Mint Ice Cubes
Not sure how you can take advantage of frozen mint cubes? Well, don’t hesitate to use them in soups, frozen drinks, even desserts. The best part?
You will have fresh mint at your fingertips, and you can add other spices or ingredients to make special drinks, such as post-dinner digestive tonics (3).
Can We Air-Dry Fresh Mint?
Well, since fresh mint has a high moisture content, you’d rather not air dry this herb, as it is not the best option. By applying the freezing methods, you will keep the flavor much better.
However, other herbs, such as rosemary, oregano, or rosemary, have less moisture, and you can air-dry them successfully.
Making Dry Mint Taste Better
Well, if you still prefer to dry the fresh mint you have, and you believe this is the best option for holding the flavor, it is fine.
The trick here to help the aroma activate, even the mint is dried, is to simply rub the leaves between your palms. The crushing action will make the mint release all the flavor.
In a nutshell
Storing mint is easy, quick, and convenient. By following these methods, you will have flavorful mint at your fingertips for a long period of time.