Author: Katherine Witherspoon, Urban Harvest Coordinator at FOUND
Wild mint (Mentha arvensis L.), also referred to as field mint or corn mint, is a perennial plant closely related to spearmint and peppermint. The leaves are often used to add flavour to culinary dishes and the leaves and stalk are used for medicinal purposes.
The plant ranges in height from 20-80 cm and is found in predominantly wet and low-lying areas of the province. The leaves are sharply toothed and ovate (oval-shaped), reaching approximately 3.5 cm in width, and 8.5 cm in length. Wild mint flowers between July-September: these flowers have four, funnel-like lobes that range in colour from white to light purple.
When to Harvest
Did you know that mint can be harvested up to three times in a single growing season?
Although mint can be harvested at any time, the minty taste will be strongest in the mid-summer, just prior to flowering. Many gardeners also recommend harvesting herbs in the morning when the plant oils are most concentrated in the leaves.
How to Harvest
Using scissors, cut the stem just above the two bottom-most leaves on the stalk (approx. 2.5 cm from the soil).
Rinse mint thoroughly under running water. Gently shake the stalk to get rid of excess water. Use the fresh leaves as desired!
If drying the mint, break stalk into manageable sections and spread into a thin layer and lay on towel to dry (in the sun is best). Once the leaves are no longer dripping, bundle using elastic bands to air dry- hang upside down in warm, dry place. This air-drying process can take days to weeks, depending on temperature and humidity of the room. You can also opt to oven-dry the mint: place leaves on a cookie sheet (single layer) and bake at 180F for 3-4 hrs, with the oven door ajar.
To remove leaves form the stem after baking, crush the leaves with your hand over a large bowl. Crush to desired size. Store in a cool, dry place (such as an air-tight mason jar in the pantry).
Magee, Dennis. 1981. Freshwater wetlands: A guide to common indicator plants of the Northeast.
Montana Plant Life. ND.
University of New Brunswick. Connell Memorial Herbarium. ND.