A few years ago, my best friend saved my summer sanity by suggesting I put food-quality mint oil in my drinking water. What a difference! Now I have a yearly ritual so I can welcome in the warm weather a little bit more easily. I've also found myself drinking more mint-flavored coffee now that the sun is in force, and am very happy that this leaf found its way into my life.
The ancient Greeks named the plant after the mythical character Minthe, a river nymph. Hades, the God of the Underworld, who was already married to Persephone, fell in love with Minthe and tried to start an affair. When Persephone found out about this, she turned Minthe into a plant, so that Minthe would be trampled on by all who came near. Hades was unable to undo the spell, so he gave Minthe a wonderful scent so he could still smell her and feel close to her when people trod on her.
Mint is wonderful for more reasons than just its refreshing taste. A gentle sniff can help soothe a headache or nausea, and can also help with respiratory issues such as congestion of the nose or throat. Mint is rich in carotenes (antioxidant precursors to vitamin A), and in vitamin C, known for its healthy effect on the immune system.
And what better way to keep this theme going than a fresh, minty salad! This recipe, for Herb-and-Endive Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing and a nice dose of mint leaves comes to us from the Huffington Post. You can top off the mint extravaganza by washing your dishes in Seventh Generation’s Naural Dish Liquid in Lavender Floral & Mint, made with essential oils and botanical extracts.
Herb-and-Endive Salad with Creamy Lime Dressing
- ¼ cup, plus 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 cups packed flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup packed small basil leaves
- 1 cup packed 1-inch chive pieces
- ½ cup small mint leaves
- ¼ cup tarragon leaves
- 2 Belgian endives, separated into leaves or halved lengthwise and sliced crosswise ½ inch thick
- Chive or sage blossoms, for garnish optional
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the lime juice and zest; season with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, mix the herbs with the endives. Add the dressing, toss and garnish with the chive blossoms; serve.
Photo: Tracy Benjamin