Two for Tuesday Tips: Keeping Mint and Sharp Shears

Our garden has an overabundance of mint at the moment.  We have used it for everything you can imagine from mojitos to salads, but it keeps coming.  After dropping off several herb bundle gifts around the neighborhood, we decided it was time to store some for the months ahead when the crop might not be as plentiful.

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Today's tips circle around the gathering and storing of mint and one of the tools you may use.  Having a pair of kitchen shears is essential to any good home kitchen.  In our house, there are never less than 2 pair floating around.  They somehow manage to disappear when you need them most.  To keep them sharp, follow the tip below.  You'll be surprised at how easy it is.

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savour... helpful hints

Get the rest after the jump...

Tip #1 Keeping Mint

You can dry mint by cutting about 12 inches from the top.  Remove and dead leaves.  Rinse and pat dry.  Tie mint together with twine and hang upside down in a dark, dry place.  Your mint should be dry in a few days.

Keep mint on your counter if you only need your mint to stay fresh for a few days. Snip the ends diagonally and store in a small vase of water like fresh flowers. 

Store mint in the freezer by pulling fresh leaves from the stem and storing them in a freezer bag or airtight container.  As the leaves thaw, they may wilt, but they will still be good for flavoring.

Make mint sugar in a container placing about ½ inch of sugar in the bottom.  Place a single layer of mint leaves.  Repeat until the container is full.  Place a lid and store for several day before using.  This will be perfect for tea.

Make a simple syrup by dissolved equal parts of water and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat with mint leaves.  Simmer for about 3 minutes, remove mint leaves and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Place 2 or 3 stems of mint with leaves in a small jar.  Cover completely with vodka.  Allow essential oils to be absorbed into the vodka for a couple of days.  This will be perfect for flavoring/cooking or to punch up your favorite cocktail.

Tip #2 Sharpening Kitchen Shears

For a quick and easy fix for sharpening kitchen shears simply get a steel wool pad and make several cuts in the direction of the grain.  The tiny metal fibers will have your shears sharp in no time.  Be sure to make full length cuts from the closest end of the blades to the tip.  Wipe off any residue or metal shavings with a damp paper towel.