Greek Mint: Cooking and Medicinal Info

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Although there are several types of mint that can be found in Greece, it’s spearmint, referred to as Dyosmos orδυόσμος  in Greek, that is used the most. However, other versions of mint are also available in Greece, such as peppermint, also referred to as “menta” in Greek.  Varieties of mint that people use in Greece depends on what’s available. Spearmint gives meat dishes, such as keftedes and dolmades, a unique flavor but peppermint can also be used.

Where is Mint from in Greece?

Several varieties of mint, including spearmint and peppermint, grow wild throughout Greece. Mint, especially spearmint, can be purchased in markets in both fresh and dried forms. When it comes to cooking, it doesn’t matter whether or not you use the fresh or dried versions because the aroma is retained during the drying process.

How Does Mint Taste?

Peppermint has a refreshing, cooling flavor that can wake up the senses and freshen the breath. Spearmint has a milder flavor and isn’t as cooling, but it’s equally as pleasant. Both flavors make their way into commercial products such as toothpaste and chewing gum, and both can be used in cooking. However, for the Greek recipes listed here, spearmint is the preferred choice.

What Greek Recipes Use Mint?

Cucumber Salad, Tomatokeftedes, Sousakakia Souvlakia, Bread Soup, Stuffed Tomatoes, Kolokithopita, Keftedes, Stuffed Zucchini Blossoms, Arnopita, Dolmades

What are the Herbal Remedies for Mint?

Both spearmint and peppermint can be used for digestive disorders such as stomach aches, nausea, diarrhea, and flatulence. They’re both also useful for sore throats and colds. However, peppermint is more useful in the case of coughs and congestion since the volatile oil in the plant could open up the nasal passages. Spearmint is also a mild sedative and could be useful as a before bed tea to help relax.

Interesting Facts About Mint

The Ancient Greeks had a unique way of explaining how the mint plant came to be. In Greek mythology, Minthe was the name of a wood nymph who was known for beauty. When Hades saw her, he was instantly enamored with her. Persephone, Hades wife, saw that her husband was interested in Minthe and was overcome with jealousy. To punish Minthe, Persephone turned her into a plant. Today we know this plant as mint.

Sources:

Wikipedia – Mentha

Wikipedia – Spearmint

WebMD – Peppermint

WebMD – Spearmint

Many Greek recipes are different based on the region of Greece and family traditions, so uses of the herbs and spices contained on this page may vary. Also, GreekBoston.com does not provide medical advice and the information provided here is for informational purposes only. This isn’t a medical site, please consult with your physician. The medicinal health information is based on anecdotal evidence and Greek history.

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