Every summer, the sale of fresh mint soars as Brits look to add the herb to their Pimms
However, there are a number of other ways you can incorporate more mint into your diet. Jekka McVicar, the UK's leading herb expert and guru to chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc, explains why you should be adding more, and provides her five tips on how you can enjoy mint this summer and beyond.
She said: "Mint has been used in cooking for thousands of years. There are many different varieties, including peppermints and spearmints. You can even buy some of the more unusual varieties such as chocolate mint from the supermarkets these days. The beneficial properties are well known, these being digestive, and antispasmodic."
"Mint also has antioxidant and antiviral properties. It’s a great addition to a cocktail because it adds such a refreshing flavour, but mint is also delicious with vegetables, fruit, cheese, meat, poultry, yoghurt and of course, makes a refreshing cup of tea".
Jekka's five recommendations are:
1 Try mint on bruschetta, with aubergine and garlic - the flavours combine perfectly.
2 Add mint to a pea and ham soup. It will cut the saltiness of the ham and also enhances the flavour of the peas.
3 Include mint when you're cooking with chicken. You should then serve it with a crisp green salad and some crusty French bread.
4 Have you ever considered baking mint in meringues? It tastes magical. You can then serve it with fresh fruit and whipped cream for the ultimate treat.
5 Mint combines really well with beans. Add it to a salad along with broad beans, green beans and either some feta cheese or halloumi. Freshening the meal up, the herb will lift the flavour of the dish.
Jekka McVicar is widely viewed as the UK's leading expert on fresh herbs, being dubbed the 'queen of herbs' by Jamie Oliver. She cultivated the UK's largest collection of culinary herbs, has written numerous books on the subject of herbs, and has worked with chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Raymond Blanc. She fronts the campaign Love Fresh Herbs, promoting the flavour, colour, texture and aroma that fresh herbs bring to food and drinks.