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December 2019

Let’s Talk About Mint

Let’s Talk About Mint 995 995 windermere


Also known as mentha, it is estimated that there are 13-18 different varieties of mint. All very fragrant whether shiny or fuzzy, smooth or crinkled, bright green, dark green or variegated you can always tell a member of the mint family by its square stem. Rolling the stem between your fingers you will notice a pungent scent that will make you think of sweet teas, peppermint patties, candy canes or mojitos.

Mint is known to have originated in the Mediterranean region and Asia it has been known throughout history for its many benefits such as;

• The Greeks used mint to clean their banqueting tables and they would also add it to their baths.
• Romains used it as a mouth freshener and to aid in digestion
• Medieval Monks used it for medicinal and culinary purposes.
• Mint symbolized hospitality in many cultures as it was offered as a sign of friendship and was given to welcome guests
• The name mint was derived from the Ancient Greek mythical character Minthe.
• It is said Hades, the god of the underworld, fell in love with Minthe. When Hades wife Persephone found out, she turned Minthe into a plant. Unable to undo the spell Hades gave Minthe a wonderful aroma so that when she was walked on he would smell her

The oil derived from mint is used for flavoring in toothpaste, teas, chewing gum and liquor. It was and still is often used to aid in indigestion or heartburn, colds, cramps, headaches, stress, anxiety, nausea and diarrhea. It is an ingredient used in many different aromatherapy options and is used in some perfumes and in many cosmetics. Mint oil can also be found in many environmentally friendly insecticide and pesticide options that to help detour mice, ants, spiders or flies and has been used to kill pests like wasps, hornets and cockroaches.

This perennial herb with purple flowers is as pretty to look at as it is functional. It will grow up to over three feet tall and thrives in moist but well drained places, which is why it is often found on the banks water sources. It prefers a part shaded area and requires minimal care. It will spread year after year and in some cases is deemed invasive. It is supposed to be a good companion plant, when planted in your veggie gardens or patio gardens it will repel pesky insects and attract beneficial insects. Harvesting mint leaves can be done anytime, it is best to use fresh leaves immediately or store in plastic bags in the fridge for a few days. Another option would be to freeze or dry mint leaves to use at a later date.

Recipes using Mint


Mint Jelly


– 2 cups water

– 1 cup white vinegar

– 1 cup fresh mint leaves, lightly packed

– 6 drops green food colouring

– 6½ cups sugar

– 1 bottle (6oz.) pectin or 2 pouches


Combine all the ingredients except the pectin in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then add the pectin. Heat to a full rolling boil and boil hard for 1 minute. Remove the mint leaves and pour liquid into jars. Seal immediately. Makes 7 cups


This recipe is from a recipe book called “Barefoot in the Kitchen” that was put together by the Windermere Women’s Institute and can be purchased at both our locations for $20.00


More Recipes

Here are some links to a few more yummy recipes we have found using Mint.  We would like to know what your favorite recipes using fresh herbs are, find us on Facebook and share your recipes with us.


Hearty Chicken Gyros


Chocolate Mint Brownies


Mojito Slushy


Happy Cooking!



Poinsettias 800 490 windermere

Poinsettia (Euphorbia Pulcherrima) also known as Christmas Flower

With over 2 million sold each year, making it the largest potted flower crop grown in the US. No other plant quite symbolizes Christmas like the poinsettia. With more than 100 varieties of colours in reds, yellows, whites, pinks, streaked, solid, marbled or multicolored it makes it hard to choose just one for our homes or businesses to add to our Christmas décor.

Named the Christmas Eve Flower or Flor Do Noche Buena, the poinsettia is a shrub indigenous to Mexico and Central America where it will grow up to ten feet tall. It belongs to the group of plants called spurges and was used by the Ancient Aztecs to produce a reddish-purple dye used for clothes or cosmetics and the sap it produces was made into medicine and used to treat fevers. The flowers, which are not flowers but leaves are called bracts, they change colour by gaining anthocyanin pigment as the nights get longer after the autumnal equinox. The flowers are actually the yellow bead like bits in the centre of the bracts called cyathia. When choosing your poinsettia choose one that looks strong and healthy, it shouldn’t be on display with the plastic/paper cover pulled up over the foliage as this will make the leaves mold and die and one that the yellow flower hasn’t opened yet, the plant will last longer than one that has already bloomed.

In the 1828 the plant was named by historian William H Prescott after the first US. Minister to Mexico an avid botanist, Joel Roberts Poinsett. In 1825 Joel sent clippings from Mexico to his home in South Carolina. He began growing the poinsettia in his greenhouses and later would send plants to his friend and different botanical gardens. Eventually it was cultivated and sold as cut flowers and later on it started to be promoted as an indoor ornamental potted plant for Christmas.


Caring for your poinsettia

Once you have chosen the perfect poinsettia for your home, be sure it isn’t exposed to cold temperatures for more than a few minutes. When carrying from the store to your care be sure the leaves are covered from the cold.

Once home place where there is natural light, where the sun doesn’t shine directly on the plant, keep it away from hot and cold draughts, don’t over water as it only needs a little water once the top of the soil feels dry (over watering will cause it to mold and die)

Most dispose of their poinsettia once the holidays are over, you can keep it during the year and it can bloom again next Christmas. Here is are some instructions to help you care for your poinsettia all year long.


DECEMBER to MARCH keep watering as needed

APRIL to MAY the colour will fad, keep near a sunny window and when new growth appears you can fertilize with a 20-20-20 mix, cut back the stems to about 20cm

JUNE to AUGUST – repot if needed, fertilize again with a 20-20-20 mix, continue to water when soil feels dry and once temperatures are warmer at night (above 10 degrees) it can be moved outside and place in a mostly shaded spot

MID SEPTEMBER – take inside, cut it back leaving 3 or 4 leaves per shoot, place in a sunny space and water as needed and fertilize again with a 20-20-20mix

MID SEPTEMBER to NOVEMBER – keep in dark for 14 hours a day

DECEMBER – after 10 weeks of dark for 14 hours it can be brought out and put back in a sunny space, stop fertilizing at this point, keep watering as needed and if all went well it should be back in bloom and ready to begin the process all over again.