I love to give gifts from my garden. Sometimes it’s fresh produce. Other times it’s canned goodies. This time, it’s dried mint. My mint is insane and despite the crazy weather, still has a lot of life in it. I use some to add to teas and pitchers of water and of course gnaw on the leaves when I’m gardening (don’t want to scare away any honey bees with bad breath). I also freeze it in ice cube trays for a winter supply.
I recently dehydrated a large quantity of mint. I simply rinsed it well, removed the leaves from the stem and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Into a low (170 degree) oven they went until they were dry and crumbly. Make sure to check on them frequently. There’s a fine line between dry and crumbly and just plain burnt.
I then just crumbled them in my hands and put them into containers. My mom gave me these little square containers. She found them at a party supply place on clearance. I love them. They are perfect for this type of gift, but use whatever you have on hand. Small mason jars would work just as well. Print a label onto some scrapbook paper and cut it out to fit your container. I then wrapped them with a little raffia that I had on hand.
I’ll add an easy recipe with the mint because it’s not your average herb that people are used to cooking with. Here’s the recipe that will be accompanying the mint:
Summer Cheese Dip
- 8 ounces cream cheese
- 1/2 medium cucumber, finely diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 spring onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon dried mint
- salt and black pepper
- Allow the cream cheese to come to room temperature for about 10 to 15 minutes, to soften it slightly.
- Add all the ingredients, EXCEPT the cucumber, and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the diced cucumber and gently fold through the mixture. Check the seasoning once more.
- Serve as a sandwich spread or as a dip for crudites; also wonderful with crackers and scones.
- Dip can be stored in the fridge for up to two days before serving.
The dried mint is also a great compliment to any Greek dish or to liven up steamed veggies. I originally got this recipe from food.com and have made it with great success. You can search any recipe site to find different recipes to give with your gifts.
So if your mint is still spreading and growing like crazy and you need another ides to use it up…dehydrate and share the love!