Monday, 8 April 2013

.... making a mint......

Despite the unseasonably cold weather we're experiencing (yes, even down here in sunny south west France!), we have been working on our herbs for the new herb garden.  We always enjoy offering to participants our tea with fresh mint from the garden and have been taking cuttings from the new growth for several weeks now .  We have a very full and busy season this year, but hopefully we won't run out....

So easy to propagate, we are now onto third generation of cuttings this season, which we have rooted in a cool spot in the hall of the Maison de Maitre. If you want to give it a go buy a small pot of mint from the supermarket, then just take several 10cm new shoots from the new growth, remove all the lower leaves and leave together to root in a jar of cool water (refresh the water every few days).
When you have a nice clusters of healthy looking roots, plant up each shoot individually or three to a small pot, leave for a few weeks until the weather is little warmer (yes, it will be warmer one day), and then plant out where you have lots of space to cover.  As mint can be a bit of a thug if uncontrolled, we personally like to pot the rooted cuttings up into a much larger pot which we then place in the earth up to the rim; this curtails its unruly behavior somewhat giving other herbs room to breath.

Apart from the mint-steeped tea, it is, of course, quite delicious in salads and eastern cooking.  Chop it or leave the leaves whole depending on your taste.

Pea, asparagus and fresh mint tarts

The up side of mint's profligacy is that we don't mind in the least if our friendly hares take a bite or two for hors d'eouvres.  There's always plenty more and in fact the "pruning" may very well encourage the rate of growth.

Bonne chance!

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