Like many other herbs, you can store the mint you grow in the summer and use it all winter long.
Step 1: Harvest before the plant flowers Harvest your mint leaves before the plants flower. Mint leaves lose flavor after the plant flowers.
Step 2: Pick in the morning Pick in the morning hours when the leaves are tender and contain the most oil. Don't wash the leaves or you risk losing some of the oils, which give the leaves their taste and aroma.
Step 3: Clip sprigs Brush off any insects and clip sprigs from the plant with a pruner. Then tie bunches of sprigs together with string and hang them upside down in a paper bag in a dry, dark, and warm place. After a few days, crush and store in airtight containers.
TIP: Mint leaves will mold if they are dried too slowly.
Step 4: Dry leaves on a screen Build a wooden frame and stretch window screen over the frame. Pick only mature fresh leaves and spread them evenly over the screen so they don't overlap. Set the screen in the sun and allow the mint to dry. Then, crumble the leaves and store them in airtight containers.
Step 5: Freeze in a pan Pick mint leaves and spread them in a single layer in a pan. Put the pan in the freezer and, after they're frozen, store them in freezer containers.
Step 6: Freeze in an ice cube tray Put your mint leaves in an ice cube tray with a little water. Remove the cubes from the tray as you need them and run them under cold water to expose the mint. The leaves will be wilted, but can still be used to make tea or to add flavor to your favorite dishes.
FACT: Approximately 45 percent of American mint production is used for chewing gum flavoring.