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The beneficial properties of mint have been known to people since ancient times.
This herb was added to food, used to treat many diseases; its peculiar, pleasant scent has been used by many generations of housewives to scent the air in living quarters.
Now mint, in the family of which there are more than three hundred species and which grows almost everywhere where people live (with the exception of deserts and northern latitudes), is actively used in cooking, herbal medicine and folk medicine.
Since it is needed at any time of the year, and, with the maximum content of useful qualities, it is important to collect and dry it correctly.
Also read on the website how to dry pears.
See here how to dry hazelnuts at home.
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Which plants are suitable for drying?
In order for the mint you collect to be not just a dry, useless herb, but a real repository of the best culinary and medicinal properties, it is worth observing several important rules when collecting it:
1. You should not collect plants near roads and industrial enterprises, if, in addition to aroma and pleasant taste, you do not want to get "into the load" impurities of any substances harmful to health.
2. Young mint is not suitable for harvesting, since it does not retain aroma and medicinal properties, and also dries out significantly during the drying process.
3.If you want to dry the leaves with stems, you must wait until the plants are fully blooming. Only the leaves can be harvested before flowering, but after the inflorescences have set. The highest content of essential oil is in a mature plant. During the flowering period, mint becomes the most aromatic.
4. Cut mint down to one third of the length of the main stem. In this case, the plant will be able to regrow, and you will receive another additional crop or even two during the season.
5. It is important to start harvesting in dry weather, as well as after the dew has disappeared, otherwise the mint will not remain green and after drying it may turn brown.
6.For drying, it is necessary to take only high-quality material: discard damaged and diseased plants immediately.
Dry mint the right way
And now the mint is collected, washed from dust in cold running water and thoroughly dried for several hours in the shade on paper towels (or in a centrifuge, if you have one in your household). After that, you can proceed to the main drying.
If you have collected leaves with stems, you can make small loose bunches of them to provide free air access to each plant, and not tightly tie them.
In this case, bunches of mint are hung on specially prepared wooden poles or ropes.
Individual leaves are laid out in a thin layer on paper or on a piece of natural fabric. Perhaps somewhere on the closet in the room.
An attic, veranda, balcony or shed is also suitable, but in any case, provide shade and good ventilation. Places where dust often and easily gets in are also best avoided.
The exposure of plants to the sun is unacceptable, because at the same time, their useful properties are lost. To protect the material from direct sunlight, in some cases home-made "hoods" are used, wrapping the hanging bundles of grass with paper (newspapers). Only the plants in these bags should be positioned freely so as not to "suffocate".
High humidity in the room is also unacceptable, otherwise raw materials may rot. For better drying of lying leaves, they should be agitated or turned over from time to time.
A comfortable temperature for drying mint is from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius.
By the way, if the purpose of harvesting mint is to brew herbal tea, you can dry several plants together. This creates an interesting, aromatic and healthy collection.
For example, mint leaves (small amount) along with raspberry, currant and cherry leaves.
In this case, the same drying conditions are observed.
Onions are used by every housewife in cooking. Read on our website how to dry onions for the winter.
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Is accelerated drying acceptable?
Vegetables and fruits harvested for the winter are often dried at home in ovens or electric dryers, which can now be purchased at almost any electrical store. But can herbs and, in particular, mint be dried in this way?
In principle, it is possible, but only under one condition: if you ensure the temperature is no higher than 30 degrees. Higher readings on the thermometer will "kill" the taste, aroma and medicinal properties of the plant.
Since mint is collected mainly from the end of July to the end of August, the required temperature regime for drying it is already provided by nature. So conditionally accelerated drying is justified only in a rainy summer.
Storage of dried mint
Drying the plant takes about a week. To check if it is ready for storage, try the leaves by touch: if they rustle and easily separate from the stem, crumble, then the spice can already be put into a prepared container.
To save space, some housewives grind the grass or even grind it into powder.
This is allowed, but still it is best to leave this product intact, in leaves and even with stems, so it retains all its unique taste and aroma.
The best places to store spices are glass jars with ground-in lids or bags made of natural fabric (cotton or linen).
Sealed vessels made of ceramics or wood, vacuum packaging and zip-lock bags are also used, although it is preferable to do without plastic and cellophane, which can absorb essential oils. For the same reason, it is not recommended to use paper or any cardboard containers.
Store properly packaged mint in a dark and dry place, away from heating appliances.
Mint retains its best properties for no more than two years, no matter how carefully it is stored, so try to always mark the harvest date on the packaging and do not forget to review your stocks from time to time.
If your mint is stale, but it's a pity to throw it away, you can add it to your bath water. It is pleasant and beneficial for the skin.
An alternative to dried mint?
Recently, when many owners have freezers in the house, they are trying to freeze various products, because in the case of quick freezing, this way you can perfectly preserve their color, taste and aromatic properties.
Suitable for freezing and mint. For this, freshly cut plants are taken, washed in cold running water and well dried.
They are divided into "portioned" bundles, wrapped in aluminum foil and sent to the freezer.
It should be remembered that mint can both give off and absorb different odors, so you need to think carefully about its proximity to other products.
And yet, after weighing all the pros and cons of this method, agree that the old, traditional method of drying and storing mint will never let you down.
If you thought carefully about the whole process and did everything right.
Find out the whole truth about the benefits and dangers of dried dogwood from the article on our website.
Jam is also made from dogwood. Read the benefits of dogwood jam: forlady / recipes / varenya-iz-kizila.html
So, to summarize:
- the best time for harvesting mint: July-August, the period of budding and flowering;
- necessary conditions for collection: dry weather, mid-day, favorable environmental conditions;
- drying conditions: 20-30 degrees Celsius, shaded place, ventilation;
- best storage conditions: dark place, well-closed glass container or cloth bag.
Observing these conditions, you can enjoy fragrant and healthy mint tea at any time of the year, prepare a delicious dish or put your health in order.