I first discovered chocolate mint several years ago at the herb stand at our local Saturday Farmers’ Market and fell in love. The smell is just so delicious, I couldn’t wait to get a plant for my garden. After a little bit of searching, we were able to find live plants at a nearby nursery. Luckily, a worker at the nursery warned us that mint is invasive in California, and should NOT be planted in the ground because it spreads and sends runners everywhere and is extremely difficult to eradicate. In theory, I wanted to plant it in the ground because a chocolate mint lawn seems AWESOME…think about how great it would smell when you cut it! However, after the worker said that mint will even send runners under sidewalks and roadways and spring up on the other side, we decided it was not worth the risk, and planted it in a container.
Based on the nursery worker’s comments, I planted the chocolate mint in a 24″x10″ container, thinking the plant would eventually spread throughout the container. It did spread, but the process was not as I expected..it seemed like there were weeks of just looking at a little tiny plant in a huge container, and then one day, BOOM! There were little shoots everywhere, and now the container is regularly overflowing.
The interesting thing about chocolate mint is that even though it smells very strongly of chocolate and mint, it doesn’t actually taste very chocolate-y, so it can be used in place of plain old mint in a lot of recipes without changing the taste too much. Most recently, I have been clipping sprigs and soaking them in pitchers of water to make my own version of “spa water”, which has been quite refreshing in this heat wave! Otherwise, I use chocolate mint for tea, and occasionally in fruit salad. Not very creative, perhaps, but very delicious and satisfying. I have also heard chocolate mint is fantastic in mojitos, but I have yet to try that myself.
Here are some more ideas about how to use chocolate mint: