chocolate mint

Mint and chocolate? Why would you ever grow any other mint variety again? Chocolate mint is as chocolatey, minty and scrumptious as it sounds. You can bake it in cakes, add sprigs to mojitos, and even use it in your beauty recipes. But more on that later. You won’t regret picking up this herb at your local farmers market. When the sun warms its leaves, your garden will smell just like a peppermint patty. Yum! Get a plant now and enjoy chocolate mint goodness all summer long.

Tips for growing chocolate mint
Keep your chocolate mint in mint condition with a little gardening know-how.

1. Find the perfect location
Chocolate mint prefers cool temperatures. It needs sun, but doesn’t like extreme heat. Look for the sweet spot for growing chocolate mint: An area that gets a few hours of morning sun, but stays shady in the afternoon.

2. Tend to it every so often
Chocolate mint doesn’t need a lot of fuss. It mainly just likes its soil to stay moist. Water your chocolate mint regularly to keep it happy. Your plant will likely survive a few dry spells, but don’t let it dry out too often. Other than that, just let it grow!

3. Contain it—or watch out
Chocolate mint grows like a weed. It spreads quickly, forming creeping underground root systems and taking over your garden. Keep your chocolate mint in containers to prevent it from spreading. If you do want to plant your chocolate mint straight in the ground, use this method to keep it from taking over: Place the chocolate mint in a deep bottomless container and set the plant (container and all) into the ground. This will keep its roots from overrunning neighboring plants.

4. Regrow from cuttings
With mint, you definitely get your money’s worth. Chocolate mint will grow from cuttings from your original plant. Just snip off a stem and set the cutting in a pot of soil to regrow. (These regrown chocolate mint plans make sweet gifts.)

5. Get ready for next year
As a perennial plant, your chocolate mint will come back next year. The leaves will die during the winter, but the plant will be back. You’ll see shoots form the next spring. To prepare your plant for winter, mulch around the herb before the first frost.

Uses for chocolate mint
Head to your garden and harvest your chocolate mint for these scrumptious uses.

6. Make the best tea ever
Fill your mug a little less than half way full with fresh chocolate mint leaves. Pour boiling water over the leaves and let your tea steep for a few minutes. Spoon out the leaves and enjoy an aromatic chocolate mint tea straight from your garden. Add a splash of chocolate soy or almond milk for a little more indulgence.

7. Add it to anything chocolate
Mix chocolate mint into just about anything where you’d use chocolate. Add it to cakes, muffins, cookies, pies…Everyone will be wondering about your secret ingredient. You’ll certainly be known as the baking queen (or king!).

8. Whip up ice cream
Made without chocolate or food coloring, this Fresh Chocolate Mint Ice Cream recipe is pretty special. The starring ingredient? Chocolate mint, of course. Get ready to scoop up with rich, creamy chocolate mint ice cream. You won’t be able to put your spoon down. You might even lick the bowl.

9. Mojitos! (Is there really anything else to say?)
Chocolate. Mojitos. Why have we gone so long without trying this cocktail? Simply substitute chocolate mint leaves for the spearmint in our recipe for a mean organic mojito.

10. Make your own essential oil
Use the essence of chocolate mint any time of the year by making your own essential oil. You can then add it to your favorite homemade body scrub, facemask or other beauty products for a little chocolate indulgence. Follow these steps to make an essential oil.

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image: Kirsten Hudson