Longtime readers will know that I love the intersection of plant breeding and great food, which is why I was so excited when looking through Richters Herbs' website, I noticed their mint offerings. I know the usual varieties: spearmint, peppermint, apple, pineapple, and chocolate mint, but here was a whole new range of mints with names like 'Candy Lime', 'Wintergreen', 'Berries and Cream', and even 'Oregano-thyme'! Reading the descriptions got me even more excited. These are part of a whole series of varieties developed by one Jim Westerfield who, in addition to being a plant breeder and mint enthusiast, is creator of an award winning gourmet restaurant, Westerfield House! I had to order some.
Here are the 5 varieties I ordered, and my comments on them:
I was skeptical about this one... really? Wintergreen? The dominate flavor is still mint, but there is a pronounced real winter green flavor as well! It also must have a really high methol concentration, because chewing a leaf fills your mouth with that distinctive tingly cooling sensation. I love making mint lemonade... this variety would be perfect for it! Or a mint-berry smoothie! Or... so much more! I hope this guy is a vigorous as most mints, because I'm going to be harvesting a lot of it.
Again, I had to order this one because I couldn't quite believe it. Chewing a leaf, I don't know if I'd say oregano or thyme, but the flavor is definitely some sort of cross between mint and something of the rosemary-oregano-sage-thyme ilk. It really feels like a NEW flavor to play with! I can't wait to get it in the kitchen.
This one is delicious. I mean, really, really delicious. Perhaps my favorite flavor just nibbling the leaves straight off the plant. It does indeed have a hint of lime to it, enough to make my boyfriend instantly say "Mojito!"
I was a little disappointed here. This one tastes like mint. A very good mint, but nothing extraordinary. In other company, I would probably rave about it, but when the others are so delicious, I don't think I'll really ever use this one.
This one is also quite delicious, and surprisingly has a definite orange flavor to it. My first thought was that this is what I wish mint chocolate chip ice cream tasted like. Now I might have to get an ice cream maker... The tag recommends putting it in orange juice. I might just have to try that.