In honor of this week’s BSI, I thought I’d offer up a little peppermint info to serve as education and inspiration. Don’t forget to submit your recipes by Sunday, December 14 @ 7:00 PM EST. Can’t wait to see all your minty ideas!
2. Peppermint grows in shady, moist habitats like stream banks and waste lands. Waste lands…interesting choice for something that freshens your breath and leaves your mouth feeling clean and tingly.
3. Peppermint flowers are purple and its leaves and stems are hairy!
4. Peppermint seeds sold at stores do not grow into true peppermint, but into an inferior spearmint. Peppermint is actually a sterile plant. Those tricky seed producers can’t fool us!
5. Peppermint is mainly grown for the oil in its leaves. It takes about 1 ton of herb to make 7 pounds of oil. The United States is currently the largest producer of peppermint oil – making half the world’s supply.
6. Peppermint gets its minty aroma and flavor from the menthyl acetate it contains. But menthol is actually peppermint’s main active ingredient. It lives in its leaves and flowers and provides the cooling sensation of the herb – what makes it popular in soaps and lotions.
7. Pliny the Elder documented the use of peppermint by the ancient Greeks and Romans. During feasts, they crowned themselves with its leaves and flavored sauces and wines with its essence. The Egyptians used it too.
8. Peppermint is sometimes referred to as “the world’s oldest medicine.” It has been used for thousands of years in Eastern and Western practice to treat – ready for this? – headaches, anxiety, pain, muscle spasms, indigestion, nausea, sore throat, colds, skin irritations, bacteria growth, respiratory infections, inflamed tissues, toothaches, cramps and cancers. Whew!
9. Peppermint is an excellent source of manganese, vitamin C and vitamin A.
10. We all know and love the pepperminty goodness of the candy cane. But the original candy cane – invented by French priests in the early 1400s – was unflavored, uncolored and straight. It turned into a cane in the 1600s and finally got its peppermint flavor around 1900. It got the red and white stripes then too!
Alright, I’m gonna go find some minty gum!