Jul 6, 2023
Mint is an awesome herb, and it’s one of our favorite herbs in our household. Good as it is, it can be expensive and hard to get at certain times of the year. It’s one of the easiest plants to grow, but the problem is it’s very invasive. We heard that there was a house that planted mint and forgot about it. Now, the entire yard is full of mint, and they can’t seem to get rid of it!
But if you want a steady supply of mint for your drinks and recipes, but don’t have the space and time to plant? It’s time to start freeze drying!
Mint is loved mainly for the refreshing cool taste it leaves in the mouth. This is why toothpaste, breath mints, mouthwash, and chewing gums are made with mint flavor.
It also adds a fresh flavor to your dish, especially lamb dishes. They make for incredible deserts, too, like when added to ice cream. If you love drinks like refreshing lemon cucumber water or a mojito, then you should really have mint in your pantry.
Mint also helps in enhancing memory and increasing alertness. It can also help ease certain tummy problems. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder why it’s one of the most popular herbs on the market.
You don’t need too much when you’re freeze-drying mint. All you need are
You may be wondering: why no parchment paper? We use paper to keep food with high sugar content from sticking to the tray. Mint has no sugar content, so it will not bond to the tray’s surface during freeze-drying.
Cleaning is an important step when dealing with herbs. While the leaves are on the stems, wash the mint under cool running water. Once you’re done, you can dry the herbs using a salad spinner or a towel/paper towel.
When they’re fully dry, use the scissors to cut out the leaves from the stems. Scissors make cleaner cuts with less bruising. This means all the essential oils stay inside the herbs for better flavor.
Also, don’t chop the mint leaves. You may be tempted, especially if your mint leaves are huge. But chopping the leaves causes the essential oils to escape and lose flavor. Keep the mint leaves whole and cut or crush them when it’s time to use them.
There’s no need to pre-freeze the herb before freeze drying. They have less water than fruits, vegetables, and meat, so they’re easier to freeze dry.
Herbs are one of our favorites to freeze dry. Just like cilantro, freeze-drying mint is easy and takes a short amount of time.
If you don’t have a freeze dryer, you can still make your own freeze-dried mint. There are two ways for you to make this.
This is your next option if you don’t have freezer space or the patience to do the freezer method. It’s also a good method to use if you’re going to freeze dry a small batch.
The problem with these methods is that you don’t have a controlled environment. You may not get the same results as with a freeze dryer.
It’s very easy to know when the mint is okay. The leaves are all dry and crumbly. A simple touch should give a satisfying, rustling sound like walking on a pile of dried leaves.
As for the color, they’re infinitely a lot better than dehydrated or air-dried mint. They’re a bit dull compared to fresh ones but way brighter compared to dehydrated herbs.
Freeze drying almost always intensifies the flavor of the food. For us, the herb tasted twice more potent compared to the fresh ones. Others say there’s no difference or a slight dullness of flavor.
But majority will definitely tell you that you get twice the minty flavor as you would with fresh ones.
Herbs can get stale pretty fast when exposed to light and air. To keep minty flavor, it’s best to keep the herbs in Mylar bags. Preferably opaque ones as light can degrade freeze-dried herb quality over time.
Throw in oxygen absorbers for good measure. This will help keep your herbs longer and fresher.
Heat can also ruin the flavor of the freeze-dried herb. Store the bags of mint in a cool, dark place away from heat. Keep the room temperature at not more than 72°F (22°C).
But if you’re into this refreshing herb so much and want to use it frequently, go for air-tight containers. Mason jars that are vacuum sealed can also do the trick for storage.
You can use it just as you would with any dry herbs. For us, we’re going to mix a few leaves in sugar.
This is also great for teas or drinks. Fans of cold brewed tea are happy with the delicious flavors they get with the freeze-dried mint.
Some add it to their ice cream recipe; no one guessed it wasn’t fresh mint.
It’s also great for Greek salad dressing, giving out impressive flavors each time.
If you’re in a place where mint is hard to come by, then freeze drying is your next best option. It’s easy to do and can be used for a multitude of recipes.
Got questions about freeze-drying mint? Let us know in the comment section!