When Can I Harvest Mint – Learn About Harvesting Mint Leaves

Hands Holding A Bundle Of Mint Leaves
harvest mint
(Image credit: Almaje)

Mint has a justified reputation as the garden bully. If you allow it to grow unrestrained, it can and will take over. Picking mint plants 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 harvest mint leaves.

When Can I Harvest Mint?

Mint is a greedy perennial that at first develops into a tidy, bushy green clump. Of course, the disguise of the well-mannered herb doesn’t last long and soon enough it’s off to conquer the rest of the garden. As mentioned, the herb is best confined to a container but if yours is not, the best way to tame the beast is by harvesting mint leaves.

You can begin picking mint leaves in the spring as soon as the plant has leafed out and continue to harvest as often as possible. Not only will harvesting mint leaves frequently keep the herb in check, but it indicates to the plant to produce new aromatic foliage. The more you pick, the more the herb will grow, meaning you can pick sprigs throughout the growing season.

Mint contains essential oils that impart its signature aroma. To get the most out of the flavor and aroma of mint, harvest at its peak, just before flowering. Pick mint in the morning when the essential oils are percolating to get the most intense flavor.

How to Harvest Mint

There is no trick to picking mint plants. The leaves can be plucked individually if you just need a few, or the plant can be pruned with shears and then the leaves removed from the stems.

If you aren’t using the mint immediately, either place the stems in a glass of water for three to seven days or put them into a plastic bag stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Uses for Mint Herbs

Now that you have plenty of mint, what do you use it for? You can dry it for later or use it fresh. Steep the leaves in hot water for a few minutes to make a soothing mint tea. Freeze mint leaves along with cranberries or raspberries and water in ice cube trays for festive, tasty ice cubes.

Mint features prominently in the cuisine of the Middle East in tabouli and other dishes. Preserve mint in the form of mint jelly for a classic condiment alongside lamb. Mint and peas are a classic combination, but try mint with zucchini or fresh beans to elevate them to something sublime.

Toss mint leaves into fresh fruit salad or add it to salad dressings and marinades. Garnish platters with the pretty, bright green leaves, or toss them with fresh lime and sugar mixed with rum and carbonated water for a refreshing mojito.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.