How to Store Mint

Many of us use mint in tea and in recipes, especially desserts, but even if you have a herb garden, you might not want to plant mint there. It can be pretty invasive and will readily take over your garden, so you might prefer to purchase your mint, either fresh or dried, from a store.

If you’re drying your own mint, you’ll also find this article handy in terms of storage tips and how to know whether your mint is still good to use.

Mint is very good for you, and Healthline lists some of the key benefits, which include high amounts of vitamin A, plenty of iron, magnesium, and antioxidants. Vitamin A is particularly important for good eye health. If you want to improve your night vision, it’s not carrots you should be eating; it’s mint!

We’re going to explore how to store mint and how long mint should last in the right conditions, as well as how to detect moldy mint.

How to Store Mint

How To Store Mint Properly

The storage you need to create will depend on whether you are storing dried mint or fresh mint. We’ll start with dried and move onto fresh.

If you have purchased dried mint from a store, it is best to keep it in the original container or move it into an airtight container. This can then be stored on a shelf in a dark, cool spot. This should keep your mint fresh for a long time; check the packet for an expiry date.

As long as it doesn’t get wet, dried mint should stay good to eat. You might notice that it loses some of its strength over time, however.

If you are drying mint yourself, it must be completely dry before you store it. You should start by washing the mint leaves you have harvested, and then allowing them to dry. Pat any remaining moisture away with a clean, absorbent cloth.

Put your mint leaves onto a baking tray, spreading them out so that they are all in one layer, and none are on top of others. Next, set your oven to 180° F and warm the mint leaves for a couple of hours. You should check on them regularly to make sure they aren’t burning.

When the two hours have passed, check if the mint leaves are dry. If they are, the mint is done and can be stored in an airtight container. These Stackable Kitchen Canisters are both beautiful and practical.

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Fresh mint can be harder to store well for long, but it’s got a much more potent flavor. Fresh mint should be stored as you would store cut flowers. Something like this Glass Herb Keeper would be absolutely perfect, and would look very elegant standing on a counter, too! Alternatively, you could use a large drinking glass or vase of water.

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Before placing the mint in water, remove any packaging and trim the stems. Remove any leaves that will end up below the surface of the water, and then place the container in your fridge.

If you haven’t got room in the fridge, find a cool, shady spot for the mint instead. Change the water every two days to keep it fresh.

If you only have mint leaves to store, without stems, you can wrap them in damp paper towels. Pop the paper towel wrap in a Ziploc bag to hold some moisture in, and store it in the fridge without sealing it.

A final trick is to freeze fresh mint leaves in water. You can fill ice cube trays with water, add a few mint leaves to each, and freeze them for a few months. Just grab and melt an ice cube when you need mint!

How Long Can Mint Be Stored?

Dried mint should last for months and suffer no ill effects except loss of flavor, provided it doesn’t get wet. If it does get wet, it is likely to mold quickly and should be discarded.

Fresh mint that is still on its stem could last about a week if you store it in water as described above – possibly even longer if it was very freshly cut. Keeping it cool and giving it water is the best way to preserve it. Some people say they have managed to keep mint going for around three weeks with this method.

Mint leaves that are wrapped in damp paper towels will probably not last for longer than six or seven days. While the paper towel will help, being removed from the stem will likely reduce their lifespan.

Frozen mint should keep for months at a time. If you want maximum flavor from it, you should probably use it up in about three months, but nothing besides loss of flavor should happen if it stays in the freezer for longer.

How to Store Mint

How To Tell If Mint Is No Longer Edible

It’s usually reasonably easy to tell when herbs should not be eaten anymore. Mint is no longer edible when the leaves either turn very dry and crispy, or when they turn to mush. Mint that has gone past its best will also take on an unpleasant and possibly moldy scent.

If your mint feels soft and squishy, throw it away. It shouldn’t be eaten, cooked with, or turned into tea once it has started to break down and become slimy.

Things To Avoid When Storing Mint

  • Leaving mint leaves in the sun or in a hot place (unless drying them).
  • Leaving mint standing in stagnant water.
  • Allowing mint leaves to sit below the level of the water they are stored in (they will quickly rot and encourage rotting throughout the mint).
  • Letting dried mint get damp or leaving it exposed to the air for too long.

Keep Your Mint in Mint Condition

Mint is perfect for all sorts of culinary adventures, but if you have a large bunch of mint, you’ll want it to last for as long as possible. Maximize its life by standing it in fresh water, and then dry any leaves that you can’t use and store them for a later date. Dried mint isn’t as powerful, but it’s better than nothing!