Learning how to pick mint leaves is essential if you’re a mint-lover!
Mint has a justified reputation as the garden bully. If you allow it to grow unrestrained, it can and will take over. Picking mint leaves often can keep the plant in check, although a better method is to plant in a container. Regardless, mint is vigorous and easy to grow, although you might be wondering, “when can I harvest mint?”.
There’s no trick to harvesting mint leaves, the trick might be having enough uses for mint herbs. Keep reading to find out how to pick mint leaves.
When Should I Harvest Mint Leaves?
The best time to pick mint leaves is right before flowers appear, usually midway through the growing season. However, you can start collecting individual leaves as soon as the plants reach at least 4 inches in height.
For fresh use, pick green leaves from the plant as required. If you want to collect mint in bulk, you should be able to harvest your mint plant 3 to 4 times throughout the growing season. The plant generally will grow new foliage within two or three weeks. Keep the soil moist around your plant for quick recovery.
Those who grow mint in an outdoor garden may want to bring their mint inside to overwinter. Frost can cause damage to the plant, although it will often grow back in the spring. Those growing mint indoors can have a year-round cycle of growth.
Harvesting mint should occur in the morning, as the dew is starting to evaporate from the leaves. At this time of day, the essential oils in the foliage are at their most potent. As a result, the leaves will have an intense aroma and flavor.
Another important factor to consider when harvesting mint is the lifespan of the plant. For most gardeners, the best approach is to stick to regular harvesting to keep the plant busy producing foliage instead of going to seed. But if your plant has already started to bolt to seed in the garden, you can harvest before the flowers appear for the best flavor. Mints can pick up a slightly bitter note once flowers are in bloom.
How To Harvest Mint
Mint takes about 90 days to grow. Then you can pick the mint leaves by pinching each one. Pick as many fresh mint leaves as you plan on using.
If you need a bigger harvest, wait until it’s fully established and right before it blooms. This happens at some point during the summer until September. Then you can cut the stems two inches above the soil or at the second set of leaves. Keep in mind that the younger leaves are more fragrant.
Mint regrows after cutting, and you can repeat this process 2 to 3 times per season. Thus, frequent harvesting of mint leaves actually helps the herb.
How To Store Freshly Picked Mint Leaves
You don’t have to dry the mint leaves as soon as you pick them. Instead, place your harvest in a cup with water and keep it on the counter. Mint keeps up nicely for a couple of weeks in the fridge. All you need to do is keep it in water.
Take a small jar of a tall glass and fill it with water. Put the stalks of mint inside like a flower bouquet. Then, take a small plastic bag and use it as a hat to cover the mint.
If you’re going to use the mint for drinks, fill an ice cube tray with water. Place a few fresh mint leaves in each one and freeze.