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The bright green leaves of Apple mint are uniquely round in shape with slightly toothed edges. Both the leaves and stems of Apple mint are covered in fine hairs, hence its nickname wooly mint. It imparts a fruity aroma with nuances of apple, although it has less mint flavor compared to other culinary mint varieties. When allowed to bloom Apple mint will produce spears of white to pale pink flowers.
Apple mint may be found year-round, with peak season in the summer.
Apple mint botanically classified as Mentha suaveolens, and also commonly referred to as round-leaved mint and wooly mint. It is an herbaceous perennial in the Labiatae family. It is one of the tallest varieties of mint and can grow up to three feet in height. A popular cultivar of Apple mint is Mentha suaveolens ‘Variegata’, or pineapple mint, which has creamy-white streaked leaves and a similar sweet and fruity fragrance.
Apple mint, like many other varieties in the family, is rich in essential oils that have antiseptic properties.
The delicate flavor of Apple mint works best in fresh, uncooked preparations. Muddle leaves and add to cocktails, mocktails and tea. Add whole or chopped leaves to popsicles, sorbets and ice cubes. Use to make sauces or herb rubs for poultry, lamb and seafood. Roughly chop Apple mint and add to chutney, dressings, jelly or brine when pickling. Unlike many other varieties of mint due to its fuzzy textured leaves Apple mint is not commonly used as a garnish.
Apple mint is the preferred variety when making preserves for the iconc pairing of lamb and mint jelly.
Apple mint is native to Europe where it was a popular garden herb. It was also commonly used as an aromatic strewing herb used to deter pests in monasteries, castles, markets and homes. Today it is grown in gardens throughout the world, thriving in moist soil and preferring full to partial sun. Even though it is slightly less aggressive in regards to spreading compared to other varieties of mint care should be taken when planting as it can quickly take over a garden through its fast growing underground rhizomes.
Recipes that include Apple Mint. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Tipsy Culinary Queen||Lamb Chops in an Apple Mint Cream|
|Helen James Design||Apple & Apple Mint Jelly|
|Herbalpedia||Strawberry-Apple Mint Pie|
People have spotted Apple Mint using the Specialty Produce app for iPhone and Android.
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