I've gotten my garage fairly well cleaned up!!! What a chore but oh, gosh I'm glad that's accomplished. Now I have to get busy stripping peppermint. My brother went out this Summer and got a huge, now I'm talking like HUGE, box of dried peppermint. I've taught him well. He clips it, washes it and hangs it to dry and packages it for me after it's completely dry. He does an amazing job. The really awesome thing is he likes doing it and just does it because. When I visit him, his wife just says, "Go!" and he and I go "weed-hoppin". We generally come home with all sorts of goodies!!!
Today I've got to strip the leaves off of the stems and get the peppermint in jars. I want that huge box out of my basement kitchen. It takes up way too much room. When I strip peppermint I try my best to leave the leaf as whole as possible instead of crushing it. For those of you who dry your own, store it and have enough room, this is the best way. You need to look at your herbs as something that has been quite alive. You've dried the plant and that has dissipated most of the moisture but the oils are still within the leaf. When the leaf is crushed it releases its oils and scent. To keep more flavor in your peppermint keep the leaves as whole as possible. Now I know you can't always do that with all your herbs. My goodness, I run into the same problem; but if you can, that's the best way to store them. I don't always have enough glass containers either but it's the optimum way to store your herbs. For instance, I keep dried peppermint in cardboard boxes still on the stems in cool, dark places if I cannot find the room to store it all in glass jars. Most of you will probably have plenty of room to store your herbs properly but I sometimes work with bushels of herbs and I just do not have the facilities to store it the way I would like, so I choose the next best way and cardboard or paper bags will absorb moisture and allow the plant to breathe while plastic will hold the moisture in and cause the herbs to mold and rot, so that is why I use cardboard or paper instead of plastic. But do your best! That's all you can do.
I will probably not put this on my Recipe Page because it's just too simple but I find that the best Mint Tea is made by "parts" - 2/3 Part Peppermint and 1/3 Part Spearmint. The mint mixture, in my humble opinion is perfect. There is so much you can do with peppermint. Over the summer I hope to bring you a few uses along with recipes.