Native mints

True mint, Australian-style

A close-up photograph of native Australian mint
Latin name: Mentha spp. Mentha australis is River Mint; one of the more common.

It is a true mint, and can be treated the same way in the garden.

Eating


  • Very strong pennyroyal flavour.
  • Use very sparingly.
  • Best in savoury dishes in conjunction with other herbs and spices to round out flavours.
  • Can be used in sweet dishes – again, in small quantities.

Growing


  • Is a true mint, and requires good sun and water to survive.
  • Is not as invasive as exotic mints, but can take over a section of garden if it has no other competition and the long, wiry stems may need cutting back every few years.
  • Easily transplanted to new sections by finding a runner with roots.
  • Seems to tolerate mild frost reasonably well as long as it has good sunlight and water.

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.