Q. Can I freeze mint?
Mint (Mentha spp.) can be saved for later use by drying or freezing, though it is best to use the dried leaves within a year and the frozen leaves within 6 months for the best flavor. Begin by rinsing and gently patting your herbs dry.
Drying is done by hanging bundles of 4 - 6 stems each, in an airy, dry, dark place. Make 3 bundles, secured with rubber bands, and then clip them on a clothes hanger and place the hanger up high. After they have dried sufficiently, place the dried leaves in a jar and seal, label and date it. A colored glass jar will help keep the dried leaves fresher longer by keeping out the light better than a clear glass jar.
To freeze mint leaves, place them in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Place a single layer and squeeze the air out of the bag, then seal it. Label with the name and date and remember to use them within 6 months. Another way to freeze mint (and other herbs) is to puree it with water or oil (depending on what you will be using it for) and pour into ice-cube trays. When the cubes are frozen, transfer them to labeled resealable plastic bag in the freezer. Use in soups, stews, and other cooked dishes.
Microwaving can be used as a quick drying technique that should preserve the color and flavor of herbs, but only process about ¼ cup of the leaves at a time. Place leaves in a single layer between paper towels and microwave for 1 minute, then cool for 1 minute and check to see if completely dry. If more drying time is needed, microwave for 30 second intervals. Don’t overdo it. Store as above in a sealed jar.
Note: There are 19 distinct species of mint and many cross species. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and spearmint (mentha spicata) are the most frequently grown commercial mints and spearmint is far more common in home gardens. It can be distinguished from peppermint by its leaves. Uniformly green and pebbled, spearmint leaves are toothed along the margins and longer and more pointed (as the Latin M. spicata tells us) than peppermint leaves, which are rounded and smooth-edged. Spearmint is the one common in culinary use such as mint sauce, jelly, minced and sprinkled over boiled potatoes, steamed carrots or fresh peas. A little spearmint clipped into yogurt based salad dressings or added to handfuls of parsley in tabbouleh is a cooling touch. As an herb tea, spearmint is milder than peppermint and blends well with other herbs, such as anise-hyssop, chamomile, lemon balm or sweet cicely, where peppermint would over power.
Best herbs for drying:
Anise-hyssop, bee balm, catnip, mints, oreganos, Roman chamomile, rosemary, sage, savories and thymes.
Best herbs for freezing:
Chives, chervil, cilantro, mints, parsley, dill, fennel, sage, Greek oregano, tarragon, marjoram and thymes.
I hope this helps.
Courtesy of the NYBG Plant Information Service