From the Greek "minthe".
Peppermint is the happy result of a cross between aquatic mint and spearmint; its square, reddish stalks may reach up to 1 m high, covered with oval leaves with dentated sides on the ends of well-defined stems over 4 mm in length. The leaves are petiolated, grow in pairs on either side of the stem, and are deep green. They are less lined than those of sweet mint and their flavour more pronounced.
In the Greek mythology of the underworld, there lived a pretty naiad called Mintha. Her father was the king of the rivers, which wind their way below the earth. Fate had it that she should fall madly in love with Hades, king of death, married to Persephone. The wronged wife, furious at discovering them together in the throes of passion, threw Mintha to the ground and stomped her to pieces. Each piece changed into an aromatic herb which is stilled called "mintha" or mint, a little wild plant, fragile and defenseless, which humans trample underfoot like a weed. Like a moan, a delicious perfume is released when it is crushed.
Rich in Vitamins A and C.
Choose leaves that are green, without blemishes, yellowing or wilting, and strong stems.
Fresh: keep in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Frozen: place chopped herbs in an ice-cube tray and cover with water.
Mint can be used almost anywhere. It is perfect in stuffing for eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini or peppers.
It goes well with peas, cucumber and lettuce.
Add a few mint leaves to a salad of mild lettuce or fruit to add a nice fresh flavour.
The English and the Arabs fight for first place as the world's largest consumers of mint. While the English use it to make sauces and jellies to accompany roast leg of lamb, the Arabs like to drink a glass of hot, sweet mint tea to quench their thirst at any time of the day.
In the Middle East and in Africa, mint flavours tea, salads, grilled dishes, yogurt, legumes and cheese pastries.
In the Caribbean, mint is paired with rum and desserts; it also marries well with chocolate and raspberry.
In India mint is added to chutneys and very spicy dishes to balance the flavours.
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