It’s worth a mint!

Fresh mint is perfect on crostini with tomatoes. (Mike Kemp photo)

Summer and a glass of iced tea with mint and a slice of lemon is as natural as June, July and August!

I love fresh mint. It comes in all varieties and is used in a plethora of ways. My favorite way to enjoy mint is in a simple glass of iced tea, preferably sun tea. My method of making sun tea was given to me by Glen Williams, my son-in-law of Houston, Texas. It involves a glass container with a plastic lid, two to three tea bags and an hour or two on the front window ledge where our house faces great sun. I carefully remove the tea bags before pouring the liquid gold over ice and adding sweetener, fresh-grown mint and squeeze a wedge of lemon.  

Mint can be found in teas, in frostings and candy, in fragrances for household use, in medicines, mint juleps and more!

Some of the different types of mint you may be familiar with are Sweet Mint, Mojito Mint, Chocolate Mint, Organic Mint, Sweet Peppermint and Clover Garden Mint.

Mints are vigorous perennials that thrive in light soil; ideally, these plants prefer their soil to be moist but well-drained. They tolerate some shade and some protection from sun.

June 10 was National Iced Tea Day. I’m sorry I was not aware of this momentous day, or I would have had my own version of the tea party!

Some in today’s generation do not seem interested in spending a lot of time in the kitchen or in the intensive world of culinary arts (beyond watching various cooking shows). For this reason, I have included two recipes with mint for your consideration; one is for an appetizer or maybe even a snack supper, and the other is for minted iced tea.

The iced tea is wonderful! The crostini with cheese and tomato is equally as good and refreshing. It’s worth a mint!

Iced Tea with Mint and Lemon

1 quart of water

4 family-size tea bags

2 cups sugar

1 bunch of fresh mint

1 slice of lemon for garnish

Bring water to a boil; remove from heat. Add tea bags and cover with lid; allow to steep for 20 minutes. Pour sugar into a 1-gallon jug and add just enough hot water to cover sugar; stir to dissolve. Remove bags from tea water mixture and add to sugar mixture to dissolve. Fill gallon jug with cold water to 1-gallon yield. Enjoy!

Crostini with Tomato and Mint

1 lb. cherry tomatoes (preferably multi-colored)

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped mint

Kosher salt and pepper

6 slices crusty white bread, toasted

4 ounces goat cheese (or other preferred cheese)

Place cherry tomatoes on roasting pan. Toss with syrup, olive oil, mint, salt and pepper. Roast 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and pour off roasting liquid into another container; drizzle toast with this liquid. Spread toast with cheese, top with tomato mixture and lightly press tomatoes, if desired, to cause tomatoes to open and spread juices onto cheese and bread.

Don Bingham
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