Have you harvested too many mint leaves and wondering if you should just throw it away? Firstly, don’t! You could still use those leaves in the coming days or even months. Read on to know if mints should be refrigerated and other ways to preserve the quality of mints.
You’ve probably known mint as a delectable flavoring to viand, soups, and even desserts. There’s nothing more refreshing than a fresh mint leaves on top of my favorite ice cream or savory dish.
But mint has a very short shelf life. Normally, a mint could last up to seven to ten days. You have to make sure that it is well stored and properly handled during this period. Because if not, you may want to rethink your next steps before adding it to your favorite food.
Temperature is really important in preserving the freshness of mint leaves. Mint as a plant is not a fun of sunlight. Instead, it enjoys a little bit of shade. This is also true when it comes to preserving mints.
Mint leaves are cool-loving. Therefore, your mint leaves should be placed in a cool temperature and a dry area. A hot temperature may not be so conducive in maintaining its quality in the long run.
I’ve been a fan of freshly harvested herbs since it brings out the best flavors of them. Trust me, I know how it feels to excitedly prepare a dish only to find out that my mint is no longer fresh.
But worry not, because I’m here to teach you how to properly store your mints on a refrigerator.
Can Mint Go Bad?
As mentioned earlier, mint could go bad if handled wrongfully after harvest. While it has a very short shelf life, the seven days could become even shorter.
Mint would thrive better in cool and dry areas. Humidity and damp environment could reduce the freshness of mint and it could eventually lead to spoiling.
Bad mint leaves are very evident in their physical appearance and smell. Spot mints with portions wherein discoloration is already visible. Also, foul smelling mints should be a cause of concern.
If you’re in doubt, just throw them away immediately. After all, you don’t want anything spoiling coming into your mouth. Ew, right? I know you don’t want that to get into your body.
But How Do You Store Freshly Harvested Mint?
It actually depends on your location. Mint needs a cool and dry environment to thrive, so artificial cooling equipment is needed in humid areas.
Anyway, there are a lot of techniques to store your mint leaves properly and actually result in longer and fresher leaves. So, let’s get to it!
For cool areas, you could place your mints in a vase of fresh water, just like flowers.
If you don’t have a vase, you could use a tall mug or glass. Before placing your mints into the container, cut off a few leaves. Then, add water to the container to cover the cut ends of your mint leaves.
Afterwards, cover the top-most part with a plastic bag to make sure that no insect or bacteria could affect its growth.
Regularly change the water of the container every to three days. This could prolong the freshness of mint. If you’re lucky, it could even grow a few roots that would even prolong the mint leaves.
If living in a humid area, here’s what you need to do.
Place your mint leaves in a damp paper towel. Make sure that your paper towel is not too wet or not too dry. To make sure, slowly wring the paper towel to remove excess water out of the paper towel.
Then, wrap your mint leaves around the wet paper towel. Seal the paper towel in a plastic bag. Make sure that the plastic bag is big enough for your mint leaves. Also make sure that you did not seal it entirely to have a free way for air to circulate.
Afterwards, place it in a fridge. This method could prolong your mint leaves for at least two more weeks.
How Long Can You Keep Mint In The Fridge?
Given the conducive environment in the fridge for mint leaves, the plant could stay fresh from seven days to weeks or even months.
For the first method using a vase, you could prolong the freshness to several months. As long as you regularly change the water on the vase, you could maximize your mint leaves.
In time, the stems could grow leaves which would result in a longer life span for your mint leaves.
On the other hand, the wrapped mint leaves could prolong the freshness for weeks to one month.
In summary, it depends on the method you are using.Just beware of wilting, discoloration, and foul smell. These are early signs of mint leaves dying, so be sure to check in your fridge from time to time.
What Temperature Should Mint Be Stored?
Temperature is paramount in maintaining the quality of mint leaves. Mint are cool-loving plants; they want an environment that is low in temperature and dry at the same time.
Leaving them in a hotter condition might decrease the quality of the plant. It could reduce the aroma and flavor of mint leaves. In time, it could deteriorate the leaves and leave it inedible.
You should maintain a 45 – 50 degree Fahrenheit (or 7.2 to 10 degree Celsius). The environment should have an 85 – 95% humidity. This would work for both methods that we learned a while ago.
But if you wanted to even prolong the freshness of mint leaves, preservation techniques should be applied that could involve freezing.
Can I Freeze Mint Leaves?
Definitely! Mint leaves could stay even longer if you freeze them. This way, the aroma and flavor of the mint are preserved. Cool, right?
Freezing the mint leaves is actually easy and even people who are new to cooking can follow.
- Carefully pick healthy mint leaves from the stem. Choose leaves that are healthy which means leaves that do not display damage, discoloration, or rotting.
- Wash the leaves in lukewarm water.
- Gently dry the leaves in a paper towel.
- Using a kitchen knife, chop the mint leaves evenly.
- Then, put one to two teaspoon of mint into each portion of an ice cube tray. Fill only half of the tray.
- Fill the ice cube tray with water.
- Put in your freezer. Wait overnight until the water has already solidified.
- Remove the solid cubes one by one and place in a airtight freezer bag or other container.
- Label the container with the date of freezing.
If you do not have an ice cube tray, you could opt for a baking sheet instead. Here are the steps to take when freezing through baking sheet:
- Follow steps one, two, and three from above. Pick the healthy leaves.
- Spread the min leaves on the layer of the baking sheet.
- Place the baking sheet into your freezer.
- Wait for two to three minutes until the leaves are properly frozen.
- Then, gently remove it from the baking sheet and transfer to an airtight freezer bag or container.
- Label the container with the date of freezing.
Now, if you still don’t have a baking sheet, you could store it using plastic bags and containers. Follow these steps:
- Follow steps one, two and three from above.
- Then, cut a plastic bag material that could hold your herbs with 3 inches allowance on the top.
- Seal one end of the plastic bag with a vacuum sealer.
- Pour fresh mint leaves into the bag. Maintain a flat and evenly distributed herbs in your bag.
- Then, flatten the bag with a three inches allowance of space at the top.
- Seal the other side of the plastic bag with a vacuum sealer.
- Place your vacuum sealed bags into the refrigerator.
This method could prolong the mint leaves up to three months or even longer. You also have the option to add beef or chicken broth instead of water. This option would be best for you if you would be using this for a savory dish or viand.
Personally, I use water in freezing mint leaves. It gives it versatility for usage. This way you could utilize it for beverages and even desserts.
How Do I Use Frozen Mint Leaves?
Frozen mint leaves could be used in many ways. It’s very versatile, especially if you used water in freezing it. It could be used for soups, teas, beverages, dessert, in savory dishes and many more.
To properly use it, place the cube in a glass to melt. When the cubes are fully melted, use a strainer to remove excess water and use the mint onto your dish. Carefully pour the liquid mixture into the strainer to ensure that water is being drained out.
And there you have it! You could now use the mint leaves in any type of dish you wish to create today and the coming days! Go on and cook yourself a feast!