The tiny mint plant was so cute, so cheerfully green and enchanting-smelling that I had to get it. It was barely 3″ high and had such delicate and tender little leaves! But a shadow hung over my new purchase. I knew that mint had a bad reputation for taking over the real estate, spreading like a weed, and generally being a bad neighbor. I shrugged my doubts aside and started digging a small hole in one of my perennial beds. How could such a wee plant cause any trouble? In fact, as I lowered it into its new home, it seemed to be looking up at me, nothing but innocence radiating from it, and promising it would behave. But in my head I could distinctly hear my mother’s voice, “Never plant mint in your garden.”
Mom was right. By the end of the season, that tiny mint plant had taken over a third of my perennial bed with no intentions of curbing its voracious appetite for dirt, water, and sunshine. Mint was even popping up amongst the Bermuda grass outside of the tile bed. I yanked at it, I cut it to pieces; I cursed its very existence and yet it kept coming back, happier than ever. What finally killed my mint was a very long, hot, and dry summer. It put up one hell of a fight, but mint had met its match. And I learned my lesson. Now I only plant mint in containers.
Having knocked mint down, I’m going to build it back up again. There’s really nothing like fresh (don’t even bother with dried mint). Mint adds brightness to salads (both the fruit and greens kind), authenticity to Asian dishes, something different to energy bars (like my Raw Double Chocolate Mint Bars), makes wonderful tea, and contributes its cool freshness to green smoothies. It’s a perfect match with chocolate. And coconut.
I used these The Republic of Tea Coconut-Cocoa herbal tea bags.
- 1 cup water
- 6 ounces unsweetened coconut yogurt
- 1 avocado, pitted and peeled
- 1/2 cup dates, soaked and drained
- 2 Tbsp. raw cacao powder
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves (plus additional for garnish, if desired)
- 2 coconut-chocolate tea bags
- ~2 cups water (to make approximately 16 tea ice cubes)
- cacao nibs, for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut, for garnish
- Place two tea bags in 2 cups of boiling water and steep overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the teabags and pour the tea into an ice cube tray. Freeze for several hours.
- In a blender, combine the water, yogurt, avocado, dates, cacao powder, mint, and tea ice cubes and process until smooth and thick. Pour into glasses and top with additional mint leaves, coconut flakes and cacao nibs.