Mintbush

Mint with the strength of rosemary

Close-up image of mintbush leaves
Latin name: Prostanthera spp. Specific versions are variously called native thyme, native oregano, and native mint, which can be extremely confusing; so I don't use these common names.

Prostanthera ovifolia, P. rotundifolia,
and P. incisa ("native thyme") are among the best-flavoured. Note that not all prostantheras are edible, so check varieties first.


Eating


  • Strong, “dark” minty flavour.
  • Similar flavour profile as rosemary, and works very well as a substitute.
  • Good with savoury dishes such as lamb.
  • Excellent in a herb and/or spice mix, such as with salt or other herbs.
  • Can be used fresh or dried. The dried version is almost superior to the fresh.

Growing


  • Very pretty medium-sized shrub with purple spring-flowering flowers that responds well to pruning; readily available in nurseries as a result.
  • Flowers are also edible, and are a good bee forage.
  • Do well in cool climate and frosty areas.
  • Frost tolerant even while young.
  • Hedge extremely well and appreciate being lightly pruned to keep in shape.
  • If not pruned, can get very sprawling over the years.
  • Not a long-lived plant - 10 years at most.

Harvesting and storage


  • Use both whole and ground leaves, both fresh and dried.
  • Leaves dry best in a cool, well-aired location. Keep out of direct sun or heat for the best result.
  • If harvesting your own plant, try keeping leaves on pruned branches and placing in a vase with no water. Ensure good airflow around the stems and leaves to prevent mould.
  • The result looks wonderful, and will give out a subtle scent over the next week or so as it gently dries.
  • Leaves can also be dried at low heat in a dehydrator.
  • Leaves can then be easily stripped off the stems and placed in an airtight container for storage.
  • Whole leaves will keep their savour for a good 12 months, if need be.
  • Grind by hand or in a high-powered blender and store in an airtight container.
  • Ground leaves will retain the best scent for about three months.