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Sunday
Jul072013

Mint Sugar

Mint Sugar

As a food photographer, I find myself buying mint periodically, popping it into the occasional photograph for a bit of color. While I like to add a sprig to lemonade from time to time, mint rarely gets much use in my kitchen. The leaves are often left in the refrigerator until they are forgotten (a fate of which I am not proud). Though mint leaves are ubiquitous in Indian cuisine, my Midwestern roots have offered me fewer uses for them. I am pointed in the direction of mojitos and like minded drinks, but rarely elsewhere.

After filling my refrigerator with mint recently, I decided I wasn't going to allow this batch to go unused or uneaten.

Mint Sugar Mint Sugar

After scouring the internet for dessert ideas, I came up empty handed. While peppermint complements sweets well, its minty cousin has a little less love on its side. Despite this, I challenged myself to find a way to use up the leaves. Crushing mint leaves allows the oils inside to release, creating an aromatic scent and a bright flavor. With this in mind, I grabbed a mortar and pestle, grinding the leaves together with a little granulated sugar.

Mint infused sugar seemed like a great place to begin.

Mint Sugar

Truthfully, after licking off the sugar that found its way onto the tips of my fingers, mint sugar was not only the beginning, but the end. I grabbed a few strawberries and blueberries from the kitchen, sprinkled the mint sugar on top, and called it a fruit salad. The mint sugar, while subtle, elevated the salad into something special. Later, I macerated strawberries in the sugar before spooning them over shortcakes.

The mint sugar has a range of uses, from sweetening fruits and salad dressings to adding a bright pop on the tops of sugar cookies, making it a versatile tool in the kitchen.

Mint Sugar

Mint Sugar is an infusion of mint into granulated sugar. The ratio of mint to sugar is 1:2, which means that the recipe can be made as large or as small as you choose. While the mint sugar will keep in the refrigerator for a day or two, it is best when it is freshly made. Whether you rim it around your next cocktails or sprinkle it onto your next fruit salad, mint sugar is a quick fix that can help your next dish sparkle.

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Mint Sugar

1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Grind the mint and sugar together with a spice grinder or mortar and pestle until the mint infuses the sugar. If neither of these devices are available, you can crush the mint and sugar together between your fingers for 5 minutes until fragrant.

Reader Comments (10)

Mint gets left and forgotten a lot in my fridge too, but mostly because it's just not herb that can be used on everything...basil? yes! Dill? yes! Mint? No :(

This is a fabulous way to use up extra mint...or an excuse to buy more :)
This is so interesting. I don't even think I've ever had mint in my house... Well maybe my mom grows it, but I have no idea what she uses it for.
I don't think I've ever actually bought fresh mint! This is so simple yet it seems like such a delicacy. I clearly need to get a mortar and start creating :)
I constantly throw away mint leaves too. I hardly buy them anymore unless I´m making something specific, and then of course, never have them around when I want them. I´ve made mint syrup once, but this is much easier and flavorful!
Beautiful and refreshing.
07.8.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDena
We had mint growing in our garden when i was little. My mom used to grab several sprigs of it and put it in big glass jars of suntea to leave on our porch during the summer. One of my favorite things about summer and a good memory of home :]
07.8.2013 | Unregistered CommenterLaurel
Great idea! You can also coat whole mint leaves in sugar, then bake them in the oven until they dry out/crystallize.
07.8.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTammela
Yum! I have a mint plant in my garden that is growing by the day. This looks like the perfect use for all my trimmings!
07.8.2013 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi
The or thing that never let's us down in Britain is our strawberries. I love the mint sugar idea, I think I'll make some basil shortbread to go along side too. While we're having a heat wave I'll make some of the strawberry lollies also.

Beautiful blog.

Dave.
07.12.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDavid Crichton
Put 2 table spoons of white sugar in a mortar and about 10 mint leaves and paste with a pestle. Once bashed and mixed, the oils will make the sugar sticky and difficult to sprinkle. So to this mix add some more white sugar and mix the mixture with a spoon. This lighter green mixture is easier to sprinkle now.

Take a ripe pineapple and cut strips about a mm in thickness. Spread the minty sugar generously over the strips and use your hands to mix thoroughly. Put the strips on a baking tray and put into an oven at 125C for about an hour. Turn off and leave inside warm oven for another half hour. Then sprinkle some paprika (as generously or liberally as you like) and plate it up. So delicious it'll be gone before you know it.

Make some minty sugar syrup. To a cup of water add some of your minty sugar and bring to boil. Keep adding the sugar as you go along and watch the consistency. When it gets gloopy and syrup like, you're done. Cool this and store in the fridge. It'll come in handy as an interesting dash of syrup to a cocktail or maybe to moisten a cake mix or vodka and some mint syrup or absinthe and mint etc etc

Or if you make up cocktails like I do, you could have some of the mint sugar on the rim or your margarita glass. Something interesting and different.

Bash some garlic, mint, olive oil, salt together in a mortar and rub on your lamb joint and leave to marinade for a couple of hours. Then roast. Or make some mint sauce to eat with lamb chops. Or a dip for you BBQ'd chops: chopped mint, yoghurt, salt and a squeeze of lemon. Delicious.

A great after dinner warm drink: put a handful of mint leaves into a small glass and add some boiling water and some sugar (or honey) to taste. Leave to infuse for a short while and then sip. Great for digestion.

Enjoy.
10.11.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSol

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