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Wild mint foraging

September 14, 2019

I love the simplicity of life on the road. It feeds so effortlessly into the food we eat. Foraging is a skill I’m acquiring as we travel, but being a novice, I tend to stick to what I know, working to discover the properties of a new plant, flower or tree every few months before adding them to my repertoire. I tend to forage mint from the gardens of people we visit as it’s ubiquitous in some gardens. The mint dries easily in the sun on our dashboard before being stashed in a tin to be added to teas or meals. 

Mint is a wonderfully versatile plant that grows well in the wild near rivers or streams and it’s a plant I’ve been dreaming with for some time now. I love how the pale pink-lilac flowers sing to so many butterflies and bees, and even now, in early autumn, this plant continues gifting the last of her flowers. Mint is great for the digestion which is why I’m such a fan. I start each day with a mix of 70% mint (dried or fresh) and 30% sencha green tea in a tea-egg diffuser for a gentle wakeup to the digestion with a little kick from the green tea.

We’ve parked by the Dordogne river in France for a few days and are surrounded by wild river mint. It’s as pervasive in this spot as nettles are back in Cymru, threading throughout the long grasses and bursting with scent when bruised underfoot. Foraging for mint on a lazy, riverside afternoon is quite delightful and on this hot 30ºC day I decide to keep it as simple as rinsing the mint under the tap then folding into this lovely coldbrew teapot along with some lemon slices before leaving in the fridge to cool down. There’s enough mint and lemon in here for at least a couple of water refills. 

Otherwise you could add it to a mug of boiling water for a hot drink (another favourite of mine) or add the torn leaves to fresh fruit salads for a lovely zing. I added mint to last month’s herb & lemony sauce, or an easy mint sauce can also be made by chopping the leaves finely and adding to water, sugar and apple cider vinegar (adjusting to taste). Use the mint sauce with peas (whole or mushy) or stirred into yogurt and cucumber for a raita. A truly wonderful, giving and versatile plant that your stomach will thank you for getting to know better.

A few years ago I sat with a mint plant in the garden of our home (when we had a house!) and was gifted this poem that also appears in the poetry pamphlet The Slow-Time Traveller.

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