Peppermint vs Mint: What’s The Difference?
What is the difference between peppermint vs mint? At the most basic level, they are both leaves that grow on trees. Peppermint comes from the leaves of the wild spearmint plant; it is light green and has a strong aroma. Mint is a hybrid of spearmint and watermint and has a more delicate flavor. Other differences include how they are harvested, what they’re used for, and where they’re grown.
Let’s take a closer look at these two popular herbs to see how this distinction affects you as a consumer.
What Is Peppermint?
Peppermint is a plant that grows wild in the United States and has been cultivated as a garden herb for hundreds of years. It smells minty and the leaves are green. Peppermint leaves come from the tops of the branches of the wild spearmint plant, which can grow up to 8 feet tall. The leaves are harvested by hand and dried in an oven or sun-dried.
What Is A Mint?
Spearmint is a wild herb that grows in the forests of Europe, Asia, and North America. It has small, needle-like leaves with a high oil content called menthol.
Difference In Taste For PepperMint vs Mint
The taste of mint is somewhat different from the taste of peppermint. Peppermint has a stronger flavor, but it’s not too strong. Mint has a more delicate taste. Peppermint is usually chewed or made into a tea; mint leaves are often used in cooking, to make herbal teas, or to decorate desserts with sprigs of mint.
Peppermint and mint both have their own set of benefits for certain uses. Peppermint can help with digestion and cramps because it contains menthol which stimulates activity in the digestive system and reduces inflammation in the stomach and small intestines. Mint is good for easing nausea, indigestion, gas pains, headaches, and soothing sore throats. This may seem like an easy one, but there are other differences you should know about before deciding which herb is right for you!
Difference In Methol Quantity in Pepper Mint and Mint
Peppermint contains 0.6 percent menthol, while mint has a higher concentration of menthol at 1.7 percent. Menthol is a chemical compound that binds to receptors in the nose and throat which then triggers the release of endorphins. These chemicals produce a cooling sensation and help with pain management.
Difference in Flavor
The flavor of peppermint is more intense and pungent than that of mint. While both herbs have a similar taste, the primary difference in taste is that peppermint has a much stronger aroma. Whereas mint has a more delicate, almost sweet flavor.
Difference Between Usage
Mint is generally used in teas, and peppermint is used as a flavoring for foods, like peppermint bark or candies. The difference between the uses of these two herbs affects how you might feel about them.
Mint has a more delicate flavor and aroma, whereas peppermint has an assertive flavor and strong aroma. If you’re looking to use mint in recipes, it’s recommended that you grind the leaves first so that the flavor doesn’t become overpowering. Mint can also be grown in pots outside if you want to use it in teas or cook with the leafy plant.
Peppermint, on the other hand, is harvested from its roots and must be processed before it can be used in food, which means it’s not suitable for growing indoors.
How Does Peppermint Grow?
Peppermint is harvested from the wild spearmint plant. This means that it grows close to the ground, and its leaves are thicker than watermints. When it comes to harvesting time, peppermint is plucked from the ground, whereas watermint is cut from the top of the plant.
How Does Mint Grow?
Spearmint is harvested before flowers, so it’s never pollinated. This means that spearmint is harvested before the stem starts to grow leaves and flowers; this also means that there is no risk of cross-pollination with other plants and seeds.
Mint is harvested after blooming, so it’s always at least partially cross-pollinated. This means that mint comes from both male and female plants and that the plant needs to be grown in isolation to avoid cross-pollination.
These two herbs are different in how they’re grown which ultimately affects how they taste and how they’re used. For example, if you were going to use peppermint for tea or candy, you would have a much greater chance of success using spearmint than using mint because spearmint has not been cross-pollinated whereas mint has been cross-pollinated.
Another difference between these two herbs is where they’re grown; peppermint grows in temperate climates like North America while mint grows in warmer climates like India and China.
How To Cook With Peppermint Or Spearmint
Using peppermint or spearmint in cooking is a great way to add flavor and create unique dishes. The leaves have a distinct flavor that pairs well with other ingredients like cinnamon, vanilla, honey, chocolate, and lemon. Peppermint also makes a great addition to your coffee or tea. If you want to give it a try, here are some tips for cooking with peppermint:
- Start by boiling some water in a pot on the stove
- Add about 1 teaspoon of finely chopped peppermint leaves to the boiling water
- Pour the mixture into your favorite mug for an instant caffeine boost
- Add sugar (1 tablespoon) and milk (1/4 cup), if desired
- Top off your drink with whipped cream and enjoy!
Can I Plant Mints In My Backyard?
If you’re looking for a new herb to plant in your backyard, mint is an excellent choice! You can grow mint indoors or outdoors. It usually grows best in well-drained, fertile soil with plenty of sun and cool weather.
However, if you aren’t sure whether you’ll have enough sunlight or cold weather for mint to grow, it’s best to find a reputable company that will help you start this project.
Mint also needs plenty of room; it takes up about 2 square feet per plant. If you’re looking for a space-saving herb, peppermint might not be the right option for you. So before planting mints in your backyard, make sure that they’ll thrive.
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