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Your new best friend in winter

P1120974-300x253You thought you could only get along in summer, but it turns out the humble mint leaf also has an enourmous amount to offer you in winter. So don’t turn your back on this friendly green when the the weather turns cold – embrace this versatile herb with open arms.

I started thinking about this over the weekend while picking mint leaves from the garden to melt into jelly and sauce for our dinner of lamb roast; pure comfort in the grip of winter. I realised that I would normally be out there in summer, harvesting the mint to accompany ice blocks for a refreshing drink. On that note, have you ever thought of combining the two to make mint ice blocks? Just remove the stems of the mint and put the leaves into each compartment of an ice cube tray before topping with water and freezing.

Back to the succulent lamb roast, mouth-watering winter salads, irresistible chocolate mint mousse and those cold winter nights… check out the ‘Thai Venison Salad’ on page 242 of the From Paddock to Plate book, courtesy of Kylie Kennaugh whose family produces venison in Margaret River, WA.

If you want a warm drink but want to reduce your intake of tannin and caffeine, just add a few fresh mint leaves to your teapot. And how cool is this! Mint is effective in providing short term relief for sore throats as well as muscle aches and pains. Its menthol component is also extremely helpful in repelling mosquitoes; even ants and mice!Recycled-herb-garden-e1374490516437-225x300

I recommend planting your mint in a pot and giving it prime position on the kitchen window sill; protecting the leaves from those frosty winter mornings while giving them the sun they need to flourish and flavour. There’s no questioning the convenience of having your herbs only an arm-reach away while cooking up a storm in the kitchen. Plus you’ll have the added benefit of protection against those unwanted pets mentioned above – I thought that would be all the incentive you needed!

How creative is this herb design made out of recycled milk cartons? Make one today and hang it just outside the back door on the veranda. Where do you plant your herbs? Send me a photo.

Happy foraging!

Read more of Louise’s Love My Salad blogs.

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