Spearmint is the most popular and versatile mint used for cooking. This dried spearmint leaf comes in small dark green/brown pieces, and has a fresh sharp flavor. Spearmint leaves can be used whole, chopped, dried and ground, frozen, preserved in salt, sugar, sugar syrup, alcohol, oil, or dried. Where peppermint has a warmer mint flavor and is used in making candy and chocolate sauces, spearmint has a clear, pungent, mild aroma, and is used in salads, meat and vegetable dishes, and in all sorts of drinks.
Spearmint is native to the Mediterranean region and was cultivated throughout the Roman Empire. Today, spearmint grows "like a weed" in many parts of the world.
Spearmint is an ingredient in several mixed drinks, such as the rum-based mojito and the mint julep. Sweet tea, iced and flavored with spearmint, is a summer tradition in the Southern United States. Spearmint can be steeped alone for green tea, or mixed with Orange Pekoe, Irish or English Breakfast tea. Spearmint leaf is used as a flavoring for confectionery. In herbalism, spearmint is steeped as tea for the treatment of stomachache.
Spearmint is used in recipes for meats like lamb, duck, chicken, pork or veal. Spearmint is the classic ingredient in mint jelly, and in seasoning summer fruits and vegetables. Spearmint is delicious when added to roasted new potatoes and candied carrots. Many vegetable dishes benefit from the addition of spearmint, as do Asian dipping sauces, beans, lentils and tabbouleh. It adds just the right refreshing touch to fruits and fruit salads.