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Moroccan mint looks very similar most common mint varieties but is more compact in shape. The leaves are a bright green color, with slightly toothed edges. The plant itself has soft stems and the leaves grow closely together. Pale purple flowers bloom in whirls at the tops of taller stems in late summer and early fall; the flowers are edible. The leaves have an intense spearmint flavor that can be enjoyed fresh or dry.
Moroccan mint is available year-round.
Moroccan mint is botanically classified as Mentha spicata var. cripsa ‘Moroccan’ and it is a spearmint. Moroccan mint is a hardy and bushy perennial with a wide variety of culinary uses, but it is most commonly used for making tea. For thousands of years, mint has been cultivated for medicinal use.
Moroccan mint, like most Mentha species, has been used to freshen breath by chewing on the fresh leaves. Mint is used to relieve digestive discomfort and when crushed and rubbed on the temples can be used to soothe a headache.
Add Moroccan mint to vinegar for an excellent sauce to accompany lamb, or shred the fresh leaves over sautéed spring peas. Moroccan mint when used for tea, is most often steeped fresh with hot water poured over the leaves, which can be torn or broken to release more of the oil on the leaves. Keep leaves refrigerated, wrapped in a damp paper towel in a plastic bag for up to one week. Dehydrate Moroccan mint leaves in order to preserve them for future use.
Moroccan mint tea is a popular beverage in Morocco. It is not just meant for drinking, it is meant for sharing and is a symbol of hospitality and family in Morocco. Moroccan mint is steeped along with a Chinese green tea referred to as ‘gunpowder’ tea and sugar. Once steeped, the tea is poured from a great height into glass cups to be enjoyed throughout the day and especially when one has visitors. There is a ritual to the making of Moroccan green tea, and it is highly regarded as part of the Moroccan culture. During various times throughout the year, other herbs are added to the tea to aid in maintaining good health and to be used as a kind of medicinal tea.
Mint itself is native to Europe and has been cultivated since ancient times. The Romans are thought to have introduced mint to Britain. Moroccan mint is best grown in a container as it quickly spreads taking over any neighboring plants.