If you’ve ever planted mint in a backyard garden, you know it can grow like crazy. Got a surplus of mint like me? Then you’re probably wondering what to do with it all. I mean, there’s only so many mint leaves you can add to a glass of iced tea, right?
So, here are 15 creative ways to use your extra mint this summer—from savory sauces to light desserts, and more!
Photo by Shaun Meintjes on Unsplash
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Make peppermint extract. You can also convert your fresh mint into peppermint extract, with these directions from Elaina at The Rising Spoon. Peppermint extract is great to have on hand for your holiday baking!
Dry it to use later. If you have too much and you don’t want to waste it, it’s great to know how to dry mint so you can save it to use later. These tips from Homemade Mastery are thorough, but simple.
Add some brightness to your favorite recipes. From a boring pesto to a flat-tasting smoothie to a traditional tzatziki sauce, many of your favorite recipes will gain bright, fresh flavor by just adding a few sprigs of mint. Get creative and try it out!
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Freshen your pet’s breath. I was surprised—and I have to say, a little excited—to find this recipe for doggie breath mints at The Nerdy Farm Wife. This is a clever and really useful way to use it up.
Keep ants away. Ants hate mint, so if you sprinkle some cut up mint leaves in areas where you see them trying to get into your house or outside plants, it will keep them away.
Add it to your tea. You can add fresh tea leaves to your pitcher as you brew it for a slightly minty flavor, or use it as a garnish on a fresh glass off tea so you can get that restaurant feel while you’re at home in quarantine. Or, use our favorite Nashville recipe, and mix 1 part sweet tea, 1 part lemonade, and 1 part orange juice with a splash of ginger ale and some mint leaves. It’s addictive.
Related: 6 creative ways to use summer berries beyond just eating them out of the basket
Make mint chutney. One of my favorite condiments for Indian food is a delicious mint chutney, and it’s an easy recipe you can make with your extra mint then store in the fridge. It adds a boost of flavor to veggies, is delicious on some flatbread, and goes great with some lamb or even steak off the grill. This recipe for mint chutney at The Forked Spoon is bright and a little spicy, and she has great tips for how to store it too.
Treat acne spots with it. You can crush 10-15 mint leaves with 1 Tablespoon of organic honey for a quick acne spot treatment. Apply it to the problem area and let it sit there for 30 minutes before washing away with water. The antibacterial properties in both the mint and honey will help reduce the inflammation in your skin.
Make a DIY cleaning spray. You can easily substitute mint for the sage in this DIY household cleaning spray at Melo-Drama, and it will work just as well (and smell even better, in my opinion). Since mint is antibacterial, it is a great natural cleaner for your surfaces.
Related: 6 favorite no-cook recipes using tomatoes and basil in season
Make a sugar scrub. Freshen up your dry skin for summer with a mint and cucumber sugar scrub at Creations by Kara. Keep it close to your shower for a DIY spa treatment at home right now.
Dip the leaves in chocolate. If you want the flavor of some mint chocolate chip ice cream without the calories, try these chocolate dipped mint leaves at Tori Avey. Or, you know, just add them as a topping to your ice cream and get the best of both worlds.
Add fresh leaves to your bath. You can either chop up leaves or just add them whole to your steaming bath, and the bright, fresh scent will revitalize your tired skin—and yourself. Since the spa is off limits at the moment, this is a great way to recreate the experience at home.