There are many varieties of mint, each with their own subtle differences in flavour. Spearmint is the most commonly used in cooking; peppermint has longer darker leaves and a stronger flavour, which is best used in tea or in confectionery. Apple mint is a sweeter variety that works well in summer drinks.
All year round, but at its best from May to September.
Select bunches or growing pots of mint that look fresh and healthy with no signs of wilting or blackening on the leaves.
Rinse mint only if necessary then pat dry. Pluck the leaves off the stem, then chop or shred finely. Mint sauce is a perfect accompaniment to roast lamb (finely chop and mix with white wine vinegar and honey). Add a few mint leaves to new potatoes or peas when cooking, or throw a few leaves in to a jug of Pimms or lemonade to give a summery fragrance.
Mint blends well with tomatoes, cucumbers, coriander and yogurt in cold soups and salad recipes. In India, it is made into a fresh chutney as a cool contrast to curries.
Keep packs of mint in the door of the fridge for up to 3 days.