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Chocolate Mint Adds the Perfect Hint

This wonderful plant can add flavor to drinks, salads and more.

Mint is a unique plant that can develop flavors based on cross-pollination with other plants. This is where the flavored mints are developed such as pineapple, apple, orange and lemon mints. With mint growing wild across America, there can be so many varieties that have not been discovered.

In ancient times, mint was thought to be Menthe, the Greek god Pluto's mistress who was turned into the ground-clinging plant so she would not be able to leave the earth of mortals.

Now, you can buy the chocolate mint plants at , Lowe's and . Grow it in your house or in your yard. It thrives here in St. Louis. 

Here's a recipe for homemade breath savers using fresh mint:

Cold Water -- 1 cup
Sugar -- 3 cups
Cinnamon Stick -- 1 each
Fresh mint leaves -- 2 to 3 dozen

Directions:
Put one cup of sugar and one cup of cold water into a pot. Add the cinnamon stick. Heat it up until the sugar is totally dissolved. On a cookie sheet, sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over a section of the pan. When simple syrup is done, using tongs, dip each leaf into hot syrup for 3 to 5 seconds and then place the leaves in rows on the sugared area of the cookie sheet. Top with a thin layer of sugar and repeat until all leaves are covered. Place uncovered in dry area overnight. Save simple syrup to use again or as sweetener when you are making iced tea. The next morning, the mint leaves should be crispy like a chip.

Try one, and you have all-natural breath savers. It's a great garnish for a dessert. Remember to keep them in the sugar so the moisture in the air does not get to them. Also, save the sugar as it will have a great flavor. Use it on grapefruit in the morning, fresh granola for breakfast or on homemade cookies—just about anything. You can even break it up and use it for your next batch of breath savers.

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Chef John Johnson May 03, 2012 at 01:16 AM
Ashley, I too love the combination of mint and grapefruit. When you make these and use the mint as breathe savers. Save the mint flavored a sugar and use it on the grapefruit. I usually do this when I eat half a grapefruit for breakfast.
Chef John Johnson May 03, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Jake....of course! The mint in the store is good to use. It is easier to use the larger leaves but the smaller am Nd medium size leaves are the best size to use. I also, like tossing whole leaves into my salad mix it creates a little surprise for everyone eating.
Chef John Johnson May 03, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Ed......that is very close to what I am doing in my front years. My yard is small but I am filling it with fresh herbs. Like mint, chocolate mint, thyme, fennel. As the grow and spread you will here more about them this summer. With mint you will not need to mow the yard either. Just trip the edges.
Chef John Johnson May 03, 2012 at 01:32 AM
Janine, WOW! I am so glad that you like these posts. I enjoy sharing the little fun things we chefs come up with. Thank you so much for your support. For other recipes look for me on Facebook chef John Johnson.
Chef John Johnson May 03, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Matt....these are very good. I have been playing with adding other flavors such as orange to the sime syrup. To see if I can get an orange chocolate mint breathe saver. I'll let you know if I get it to work.

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