Mint Sauce and Preserving Mint
Answered by: Yvonne Tremblay
Question from: Jim Saword
Posted on: January 29, 2005

We grow mint in our garden and we usually pick enough to make a mint sauce to last a few days. We use it mainly on lamb. But this year we had to pick the entire plant before it was destroyed by frost and so we now have more than we can use at one time. I notice that you recommend using it fresh or dried and up until now we have always used it fresh. But if you >can dry it and not lose any of its flavour we would like to know how we can do this properly. Would we let it dry in the oven or just leave it out for a few days. Please let us know what is the best way.

There are several ways to dry fresh herbs. Mint is one that does retain its flavour when dried. For information on drying herbs, see my answer "Preserving Fresh Herbs",

http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page=./QandA/Culinary/20030908-2.html

and see also my "Preserve Recipes and Drying Herbs",

http://www.richters.com/show.cgi?page=./QandA/Culinary/20030915-1.html

Also, if you have a nice recipe for mint sauce we would appreciate have it. Over the years we have prepared it by putting a few leaves in a blender, then adding a bit of vinegar (cider), enough sugar to sweeten it, some green onion, a bit of oil, and salt and pepper. Does this sound O.K.? We would love to know what your recipe is.

Your recipe sounds great. Try this one too.

MINT SAUCE - In medium bowl place 1 cup finely chopped fresh mint. Add 2 tbsp sugar (granulated, icing or brown); stir to crush leaves against sugar. In small saucepan over high heat, heat 1/4 cup vinegar (white or red wine, cider, malt or balsamic). Bring to boil, stir into mint/sugar until sugar is dissolved. Let stand for 1 hour. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week. Makes 1/2 cup.

We also use a lot of cilantro as it gives soups such a wonderful flavour. How would you preserve it or is this not recommended?

Try making a pesto from cilantro by pureeing it in a food processor with a little oil (Canola, sunflowr or safflower...olive oil is too overpowering). Then transfer to small freezer containers, smooth the top then place plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent enzyme browning/discoloration. The flavour of cilantro (fresh coriander) is lost when it is dried. You could also wash, dry off then chop in a food processor or with a knife and freeze in a glass or plastic freezer container. If it is dry enough it will be easily removed.

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