Secret Ingredient: Fresh, Organic Chocolate Mint Leaves

Fresh, organic, chocolate mint leaves are a revelation. The first time you taste a fresh chocolate mint leaf, you might think someone is playing a trick on you. Chocolate mint leaves smell and taste like mint and yes, chocolate. This remarkable herb comes from the spearmint family and has a purple stem with green leaves. You can use it like any mint plant in drinks, salads, desserts, sauces or as a garnish. I love to make fresh organic, chocolate mint ice cream with this herb.

There are over 600 varieties of mint crossing many categories of flavor, including peppermint, spearmint, lemon, chocolate, pineapple, ginger, orange and apple.

Mint is native to the Mediterranean and Western Asia. Throughout history it has been used for medicinal purposes. Its cool refreshing oils were commonly used to freshen breath, whiten teeth and soothe insect bites. It has been known to aid in digestion by stimulating stomach bile. The essential oil of peppermint is the most widely used of all essential oils in medicine.

In recent years, mint has gained a bad wrap with the home organic gardener because of its aggressive growth. It can literally take over flower and vegetable beds. Mint however if properly controlled and grown in containers, can be very rewarding during the hot summer months. It will grow in full or partial sun. If you innocently plant mint in one of your garden beds and it becomes overgrown with mint, do not despair! Use it as an air freshener and hang bunches of it in your doorways in and around the house or add it to fresh bouquets of flowers. In India, the fragrance of mint is said to symbolize hospitality. Thus when expecting company, it is good luck to place it around the house. If it takes over your lawn, you will have a wonderful mint fragrance every time you mow your lawn!

This amazing leaf can be added to brownies, cakes and ice creams and even cocktails. You can even steep it in a cup of hot water to get the chocolate mint flavor and aroma without the sugar. Put it in the bottom of your coffee mug in the mornings and enjoy the aroma and taste of fresh chocolate mint. It might even help with the not so desirable morning coffee breath.

If you have not experienced the amazing aroma and flavor of this fine herb, head to your local farmers market or find someone who sells it online. See our recipe for Fresh Chocolate Mint Organic Ice Cream that we use to make a Watermelon Bombe.