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Berries and Cream Mint
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Berries and Cream mint is a vigorous grower and can grow up to 1 meter tall. The plant has dark green, spear-shaped leaves with wide, rounded bottoms that grow in opposite pairs. The leaves are small and measure up to 2 centimeters in length. Leaves and sprigs of Berries and Cream mint are most often harvested when the plant is young, as older portions of the plant may lose flavor. In the late summer, Berries and Cream mint will produce spikes of light purple flowers. The leafy herb has a berry-like aroma combined with the scent of menthol and a hint of citrus. The smell is not overly intense, and neither is the flavor.
Berries and Cream mint is available during the summer months.
Berries and Cream is a hybrid variety from the Mentha genus. Introduced around 2003, Berries and Cream mint is a relatively new named variety from renowned mint breeder Jim Westerfield. This cultivar is considered more of a “culinary” variety and was named for its suggested pairing and not necessarily for its flavor. Berries and Cream is one of 15 named varieties created by Westerfield that are sold exclusively through a few select seed companies.
Berries and Cream mint is, like other mint varieties, contains fiber, vitamins A and C, as well as iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium and phosphorus. Mint is a rich source of antioxidants and also contains anti-microbial properties. Mint leaves (fresh or dried) steeped in hot water will help with nausea or occasional stomach upset. Mint is a natural breath freshener and contains volatile (or essential) oils that are also used in aromatherapy and commercial products.
Berries and Cream mint can be used as a flavoring herb for cold beverages, or as a garnish for ice creams and other desserts. As the name implies, it pairs well with berries and cream. Use Berries and Cream mint to add a minty flavor to baked good like chocolate chip cookies or muffins. Steep the fruity mint leaves in hot water and drink as tea or use as a flavoring agent for baking or cooking. Berries and Cream mint dries and freezes well for storage. Store fresh Berries and Cream mint in the
Jim Westerfield did not begin his life as a mint breeder. He and his wife, Marilyn, ran a bed and breakfast nestled in among the farmlands of Illinois. In the herb garden of their Inn, Westerfield took advantage of the promiscuity of the Mentha species and created several well-known and sought-after cultivars. By the time of his death in 2013, he had created over 60 different culinary mint varieties. One of his more well-known mint varieties, and the only one he patented, was named ‘Hillary’s Sweet Lemon Mint’ or Dulcia Citreus. The new cultivar was delivered to the White House in 1993, to then First Lady Hillary Clinton. It was subsequently planted in the White House garden. Other notable varieties from Westerfield are ‘Marilyn’s Sweet Salad’ and ‘Margarita’.
Berries and Cream mint is a hybrid variety, created by James Westerfield of Swansea, Illinois. Mint grows wild and tends to be a sprawling plant, invading and taking over garden beds and lawns. It also easily crosses with other mint varieties, which has resulted in more than 600 varieties around the world. Westerfield had an affinity for mint and a passion for food, found the ease of crossing mints appealing and therapeutic. Berries and Cream mint grows best in temperate climates that do not get too cold or too hot. This mint variety can be found in home gardens and through small farms at local farmer’s markets.