This sorbet which combines peppermint and musk melon is easy to make and refreshing too

Mint is the plant that gives the candy of the same name its cool burst of flavour. While there are about 25 different species of mints, peppermint is actually a cross between watermint and spearmint. Peppermint has greenish-purple, lance-shaped leaves, while the rounder leaves of spearmint are greyish-green in colour.

Both peppermint and spearmint have a flavour that can be described as a cross between pepper and chlorophyll, with peppermint being a bit stronger and spearmint, a little subtler. Mint is a herb used since antiquity for its culinary, medicinal and aromatic properties. Its characteristic smell has made it one of the popular perfuming herbs throughout history. Around the globe, from Europe to India to the Middle East, mint has been used as a strewing herb to clear the air in both temples and homes. Mint has also come to symbolise hospitality in many cultures. In ancient Greece, mint leaves were rubbed on dining tables to welcome guests, while in the Middle East, the host still offers mint tea to guests upon their arrival.

Whenever possible, choose fresh mint over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavour. The leaves of fresh mint should look vibrant and be a rich green colour. They should be free from dark spots or yellowing. To store fresh mint leaves, carefully wrap them in a damp paper towel and place inside a loosely closed plastic bag. Store in the refrigerator, where it should keep fresh for several days. Dried mint should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place, where it will keep fresh for about nine to twelve months.

BHOLANATH JHA

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