Mint is one of those herbs that can make a big difference in a dish; however, it may not be available all year round. In addition, it can have a relatively short shelf so you may find yourself throwing out much of the mint that you buy if you do not store it correctly. To ensure that your fresh mint remains usable so that you have some on hand at all times, consider the following storage methods.
Wrap it in paper towels
One of the best ways to store fresh mint is to wrap the sprigs in damp paper towels. Keep in mind that mint is delicate and the leaves are susceptible to bruising. you will need to wrap them gently to prevent this. Place the wrapped sprigs in a resealable plastic bag and store in the refrigerator. Fresh mint can last for up to two weeks if you use this method.
Place them in water
Mint sprigs can be stored in the refrigerator in a similar fashion to cut flowers. You will place the stems in about an inch of water but instead of a vase, you can use a drinking glass or a mason jar. Be sure to cut the bottoms of the stems off to ensure that they are able to absorb the water. Cover the leaves with a plastic bag to protect them from the harsh air in your refrigerator. Fresh mint can last for several weeks with this method.
Freeze as cubes
Mint and other delicate herbs such as chives and dill are best preserved in your freezer. An easy way to do this is to place them into ice cube trays and freeze. Wash and chop the herbs before placing them in the tray compartments. Fill the compartments with water and place the trays in your freezer. Once they are frozen, extract the cubes and place them in freezer bags. When you need mint, you can simply pop a cube or two into your dish. Mint cubes are ideal for sauces, as well as for teas and soups. Your fresh mint can retain much of its flavor for several months when frozen like this.
Freeze on a baking sheet
Instead of chopping the sprigs as you would for the ice cube method, spread them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer and keep it there for about three hours. Remove the sprigs from the cookie sheet and place into freezer bags. Freezing them like this allows the mint sprigs to freeze without sticking together so that you can remove and use exactly the amount that you need. It also keeps your mint flavorful for several months.
Dry in a food dehydrator
Wash the mint sprigs and allow them to drain. Remove the leaves from the stalks and place on the trays in your food dehydrator. Follow your food dehydrator’s instructions for drying herbs. In most cases, this will involve setting it to about 90 degrees and drying it for up to 4 hours.
Dry in a microwave
Place washed and drained mint leaves on a microwave safe plate and place in the microwave. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Continue microwaving at 10-second intervals until the herbs are dry.
Dry in an oven
Place washed and drained mint sprigs on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Place the cookie sheet in an oven set to no more than 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave in the oven until the leaves are completely dry; this should take about 4 hours.