Questions about mints.

tammyinwv(z6/WV)March 12, 2010

A few yrs ago, I checked out some mints at our local garden center. I think all they had was a regular mint and chocolate mint. I tasted the leaves and couldnt tell any difference. I certainly didnt taste anything remotely like chocolate. I would love to try some mints, I have read on here about lots of different flavors. But I was wondering, Is this normal. or was it something to do with this center's plants? I would love to try several different varieties. I am going to build a potager soon, and I cant wait to fill it.


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There is a distinct flavour difference amongst all the 600-odd species of mint, but not everybody can taste those differences (taste being a subjective thing). Some people never find the chocolate in chocolate mint (which is a derivative of peppermint), but to me it tastes strongly of a chocolate-mint patty. Unmistakeable.

There's a huge difference between spearmint and peppermint, too. It all depends on your individual taste-buds, and what you ate or drank shortly before your taste-test. As you get older, your taste-buds lose the sensitivity you had when you were a child (which is why a lot of kids won't eat Brussels sprouts! Taste is too bitter for them.)

Plants which come from warm/hot areas rely on the sunshine to manufacture and release the essential oils which give them their characteristic flavour and aroma. Grown in cooler-than-they-prefer climates, their flavour won't be as strong. Perhaps this is what has happened to your plants.

Put your mints out in the sun, making sure to keep the soil constantly moist (not soggy) - never allow it to dry out. The leaves will be smaller, but the flavour will be stronger. Here, in the subtropics, I put my mints where it gets full morning sun, but filtered sun in the fierce heat of summer afternoons. They do just fine.

Of course, you're going to keep your mints in containers, aren't you?!? It's an absolute thug if let loose in the garden.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 3:24AM
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daisyduckworth, I will definitly keep them in a container. I am building a potager and want to put them in there in pots. I learned a lesson from lemon balm, however it is easy enough to pull. Its another one I dont notice any lemony taste, but I love the smell. To me in smells like lemon pledge.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 6:55AM
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Tammy, if a mint has been grown with too much fertilizer (which may happen at a nursery) it will also lose much of its flavor. Often, the taste will intensify once again once that fertilizer is gone. However, some strains of flavored mints are simply more intense than another. Find someone who has a really chocolate-y smelling mint and get a slip from that. Although, the chocolate taste isn't as strong as the chocolate smell.

And I think "regular" lemon balm smells of lemon pledge too. Try a variety like Lemonella for a better lemon taste. Also, there is Lime Balm, which is a refreshing change.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2010 at 7:19AM
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