I have mints coming out of ears at the moment and I must admit the identification process is a little challenging. I believe this plant to be basil mint (Mentha sp ‘Basil’) identified by the round leaves and strong aroma. I had thought it was Chocolate mint but a friend at Seedsavers corrected me – thank you Penny.
We use it to make sugar syrup which is delicious and wonderfully refreshing in Summer.
Growing – Grow in full sun or part shade, in moist well-draining soil. This plant also does well in pots and like many mints it may be useful to keep it contained. It will grow about 45 cm high and 100 cm wide.
Care – A hardy perennial mint that tastes a little like sweet basil with a citrus flavour. Water well during dry periods. Withstands frost.
Pruning – Cut back in Autumn to keep it under control and promote new growth.
Companion Planting – Plant near brassicas to repel cabbage moth and like other mints also a good companion plant for capsicum and tomatoes.
Pests and Diseases – Mints are quite hardy however Whitefly, Aphids and Mites may appear.
Harvest – Harvest as required and best used when leaves are fresh.
Propagation – Propagate by placing a cutting in a glass jar of water on the window sill until roots appear.
Eating – Add chopped leaves to fish, salads, soups and veggies. The mint flavour will fade when cooking so be sure to add it late when using with hot dishes. A great herb to use to replace sweet basil when it isn’t available, and it is a great addition to tomato dishes.
Can also be dried and used in teas.
Basil Mint Pesto Recipe – honestly here at Booyong we make pesto out of everything.
- ½ cup Nuts or Walnuts (chopped)
- 3 Garlic Cloves
- 2 cups of Mint Basil Leaves (tightly packed)
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated)
- ½ cup Olive Oil
- Pinch of Salt
Add it to your Nutra bullet and blend, covering with a layer of oil in the fridge to keep it nice and green.
Mint Basil Sugar Syrup
- Dissolve 300g sugar in 150ml water over a low heat until the liquid takes on a textured look, (don’t overcook it till it turns to toffee).
- Add a cup or so of fresh wash basil mint leaves, pop the lid on and let it cool.
- Strain and store in a glass sealed bottle or jar in the fridge.
Lovely with soda water or in a G and T and a slice of lemon on a hot summer afternoon.