Mint~Pudinah

Regular readers of my blog might be familiar with my love for gardening. Ever since I landed here, I have always maintained a little garden come spring/summer until fall, consisting of a few basic veggies and herbs. This has been my annual spring-summer ritual that gives me immense joy. Among them all, one herb that I always plant is Mint. I love the aroma and flavor of mint, also called as pudinah in Urdu.

store bought bunch of mint leaves from an Indian store,
this is Indian variety of Mint

Alluring aroma, bright green and crinkly opposite leaves with brownish square stems are some of the characteristic features of mint plant. There exist dozens of varieties of this hardy perennial. Out of all, I usually buy and use the kind available in the Indian grocery stores for my cooking. And at times I make do with spearmint which according to me is the closest of the Indian mint in flavor.

plucked Indian variety mint leaves

To grow Mint:

Growing mint from other healthy stems is very easy. There are two ways to grow your own mint.

1. One way is to grow them through store brought saplings.
2. The other way is to grow them from stem cuttings.

1. Buy your favorite variety of mint saplings from the garden centers or nurseries or from some friendly gardeners, and transfer them to wide and deep pots. I usually buy Spearmint or Peppermint or Indian mint. Place outdoors during spring/summer and water daily. Mint loves moist soil and grows vigorously once established. Keep snipping off the tips from time to time and use them in your cooking to promote a bushy growth and avoid flowering.

2. To grow mint from stem cuttings:
I always choose mint sprigs to be used as cuttings from Indian stores, as I find their tatse to be strong and synonymous to Indian culinary preparations. You can choose any variety you like. Just cleanly snip off two sets of opposite leaves from the bottom and leave the remaining at the growing tip. Make a clean diagonal cut just below the bottommost node, and plant the cutting in soil in a small container, or you can also place the cutting in a bowl/container with fresh cool water, such that the bottommost node is covered with soil or with water, in a bright area at room temperature that receives plenty of indirect sunlight.

stem cuttings of fresh & healthy Indian variety mint
placed in a glass with some fresh cool water so that they root

stem cutting beginning to root

In a week or two you will notice that the stem cuttings will start to root and develop new leaves. These roots are very fragile. Transfer these stems to a large and deep containers and place in a partly sunny area outdoors. Keep watering regularly whenever the soil looks dry. Soon you will have enough mint to share with your neighbors. Pinch back mint tips which make beautiful garnishes, or as required. This helps to keep the plant bushy and delay flowering.

Good to Know:

I advise growing mint only in large sized pots, tubs or containers and never in ground, as it invasive and quickly spreads out like a weed taking over your entire lawn or garden. Growing mint from seed is difficult, therefore I only recommend buying small seedlings from nursery or garden centers during early spring or use a stem cutting from the store brought mint you use for cooking. If during winters it gets very cold and snows in your area, then mint will die, but do not fret, it revives once winter ends. Bring the mint pots indoors during winters and place in front of windows that receives some bright daylight. Do not crowd several varieties a single pot/container. Mint prefers partly sunny areas and a moist soil, water it frequently whenever the soil looks dry.

Indian Mint growing luxuriously outdoors in a pot on the deck

To Store Mint:

Fresh is best when it comes to mint or any herbs. Buy one can always store it by either freezing the leaves or by drying them. I do not like to dry them.

1. To store fresh leaves, make a fresh cut below each stem and place the stems in a glass. Pour a little amount of fresh cool water into the glass that acts like a vase, taking care the water does not touch any leaves. Place it on the kitchen countertop in an area away from harsh sunlight. Change the water daily. This way, the stems will root which you can also use to plant the mint, and the leaves will stay fresh for a about 2-3 weeks.

2. An another way to store fresh mint is to pluck all leaves and store them covered in a zip-lock bag or container lined with paper towel in the refrigerator until needed.

plucked mint leaves

This way the mint will stay fresh for about a week or two maximum.

3. I also freeze chopped mint, just like I do with fresh cilantro. This way you can store fresh mint indefinitely and you can add it to curries whenever you need it.

chopped mint in ice-cube tray ready to be freezed

Wash the mint leaves in fresh cool water. Spread on a kitchen towel and let dry for 30 minutes. Now chop all the mint leaves roughly. In an ice-cube tray, tightly pack roughly chopped mint into each of the molds of the tray. Cover with water and freeze overnight. The next day, working quickly, unmold the frozen mint cubes from the ice-cube tray and transfer them to a zip-lock bag. Squeeze out air from the bag and freeze immediately. To use, add the frozen cubes to the curries during the last stages of cooking.

Luv,
Mona

15 thoughts on “Mint~Pudinah

  1. “This helps to keep the plant bushy and delay flowering.”

    Hello Mona, What are the consequences of the mint plant flowering? Is it like the leaves lose/gain flavor or something like that? Pardon my ignorance, just curious as to why you touched on that in your write-up.

    As always, thanks for your time and effort in posting your recipes.

    M.R.

    M.R., I do not allow the herbs I grow at home to flower, and keep trimming them often. This I do to sustain foliage growth. It helps avoid the plant diverting its energy towards producing flowers~ eventually the leaves lose their flavor, turn bitter, get sparse and begin to drop.

  2. assk mona
    very nice info. i luv herbs plants, i luv ur idea of cutting mint stems and growing into plants.
    i got my curry leaf plant recently and very excited about it,
    tc b4n rizruby

    WaAlaiKumAsSalaam Rizruby, Congratulations! Do share the pictures of your curryleaf plant. ~Mona

  3. Mona

    I just saw your comment; pickled turnips is duly noted in my to-do list and I will send you the recipe shortly; I don’t remember getting an invitation on facebook; yes, I am on it under joumana accad
    Take care my dear! Have a great week!
    Joumana

    Thanks Joumana, you too. ~Mona

  4. asak,
    thank you mona for all the time and effort you put on your blog ,jazakallahu khair may allah bless you and your family

  5. Great ideas Mona, Have you used the frozen Pudina for Biriyani? I would love to know because pudina is sometimes not available during the winter here. I have them in my yard and do not have to worry during spring and summer.

    Cilantro, I use the frozen mint cubes only in curries. The mint dies in winter but thankfully fresh mint is available in Indian markets all year round here in Toronto. ~Mona

  6. I always used to have my little Indian veg garden with chile peppers, cilantro, mint ( my fave too!). Until we moved to Savannah. It is way too hot here and everything just burns up. I really miss it. As usual your pictures are beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Mona

    I too love to grow mint! Thanks for a great tip on storing it in the freezer!
    btw, did you want the recipe for the turnip pickles?

    Thanks Joumana, yes I need the recipe for pickled turnips. ~Mona

  8. salaam..

    am a really big fan of urs…
    I didn’t know much abt hyderabadi cooking though am from hyderabad… everyday i use to think abt ingredients…but your Zaiqa.net is wonderful… all dishes are easy to prepare and so tasty!!.
    It will b wonderful if we can get to see the videos also:)
    because tat will b more better n clear!!

    regards,
    Nishath

    Nishath, Jazakallahu Khair for the appreciation. I do not think I will be able to post the videos, that requires too much effort and time. ~Mona

  9. Fresh mint leaves look beautiful. For the past few years mint has been abundant in my front yard (where the deer eat pretty much everything else) but this winter’s snow storm seems to have killed them off. I am planning to start new ones from some stem cuttings. I just wash and dry the leaves and freeze in plastic bags and they are good as new when used.

  10. Mona, this is very useful info you have provided. Thanks for sharing with us. Mint pics are so beautiful and those small cute baby mints in pot look so fresh and lovely. 🙂

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