We used to spend our childhood summers in the village of Hasroun, 5500 feet high in the mountains of North Lebanon. Hasroun is a stone throw from Becharri, the town of the world renowned author Khalil Jibran. And that whole area which shoulders the Qannoubin Canyon, “Wadi Qannoubin” also known as the canyon of saints, is blessed with amazing summers, plenty of water, low humidity, moderate temperatures and very fertile soil which all make it so great for summer farming.
Our mother, bless her hands, used to spend most of the summer days working with her friends and neighbors on preparing food for winter. This is called “Mouneh” in Arabic, the art of preserving food. Some of the foods they prepared include all kinds of dried veggies, grape leaves, pastries (fatayir), cheese, Labneh Makbouseh (dried Labneh), all sorts of jams, spices, preserved fruits, you name it. And all that was done the traditional way of preserving food, with no artificial preservatives. Dried mint was one of the savories that mom prepared, and since we had grown so much of it this year in our backyard, we decided to revive the tradition and make our own dried mint. The mint we grew this year includes varieties of local US Northeast spearmint, as well as varieties that a friend got us from Palestine.
Dried ground mint is used in traditional Lebanese dishes such as shish barak, omelettes, labneh (all types), yogurt, and virtually any dish that includes yogurt in it and it also tastes great in salads.
This post features the simple process of preparing dried mint at home. Note that you will need a large quantity of green mint to make a 3/4 jar of ground dried mint, as in the photos below.
Summary: Learn the simple proces of making ground dried mint spice at home.
Dried Mint Ingredients
- A huge bunch of freshly picked green mint
Dried Mint Preparation Method
- For best taste use freshly picked mint, and preferably organic
- Rinse mint with cold water and let dry
- Pick the green leaves and discard the stems
- Lay green leaves on a towel by a window (but NOT in direct sunlight) and in a well ventilated area and let dry for 5-10 days. Note that direct sunlight will blacken the mint leaves and weaken their taste
- If the mint leaves are still not fully dried after a few days passed, you can bake them at very low heat in the oven, at 170F for about 20 or so minutes until they’re fully dried and they break apart if you rub them with your fingers.
- Discard any excessively yellow leaves from bunch
- Place dried mint leaves in food processor, and let it run for a few minutes until it turns into a powder
- Filter the resulting powder mint in a filter/strainer to remove any stem leftovers
- Store filtered dried mint in an air-tight container/jar in a cool/dry place away from sunlight
You may also like to leave the dried mint leaves as is, without grinding, and preserve them in an air-tight jar to use with teas. You may also bundle the green mint bunches and tie them with a rope to the ceiling on a balcony/porch in a place that doesn’t get direct sun light. In this method they tend to dry faster.
Dried mint can last several months if kept in an air-tight container.
Preparation time: 30 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 50
Culinary tradition: Middle Eastern
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