Renowned for its fresh, minty aroma and cooling, invigorating taste, peppermint powder brings a distinctive flavor profile to both savory and sweet dishes.
Derived from the leaves of the peppermint plant, this versatile powder can elevate your cooking and enhance your health when used creatively.
An Overview of Peppermint Powder
Peppermint powder is made by drying peppermint leaves and then grinding them into a fine, bright green powder that encapsulates the pure essence of peppermint. The leaves come from the perennial peppermint plant, which produces a scent that is instantly recognizable.
The drying process concentrates the oils and flavor of the peppermint. Grinding the leaves into a powder provides a convenient way to impart that refreshing peppermint taste to foods and beverages. It dissolves easily and infuses recipes with cool minty nuances.
Culinary Uses for Peppermint Powder
Peppermint powder is extremely versatile in the kitchen. Here are some popular ways to use it to add minty flair to all kinds of dishes:
Add a pinch of peppermint powder to teas, lemonade, cocktails, smoothies, milkshakes, and any cold drink that could benefit from a burst of minty freshness. Its cooling flavor pairs perfectly with the sweetness of fruit juices and shakes. For hot drinks like cocoa or coffee, it adds a nice winter twist.
Incorporate peppermint powder into baked goods like cookies, cakes, quick breads, and muffins. It adds subtle minty notes without being overpowering. Try adding a teaspoon to chocolate recipes for a creative flavor pairing.
Sauces and Dressings
Stir some peppermint powder into yogurt-based dips and salad dressings for a refreshing taste. It brings out new dimensions when blended into pesto, chimichurri, herb sauces, and fruit salsas as well.
Marinades and Rubs
Mix peppermint powder into olive oil, vinegar, and spices to infuse bright flavor into meat and vegetable marinades. It also enhances dry rubs with its cooling herbal aroma.
Think outside the box by adding peppermint powder to ice cream, mousses, sorbet, and fresh fruit desserts. A little bit goes a long way in bringing out unique flavors.
Sprinkle peppermint powder sparingly over meats, grains, soups, and vegetables right before serving to complement the other ingredients. Its zing balances richness and adds an unexpected twist.
Key Takeaway: Peppermint powder shines in both sweet and savory dishes when used creatively. Add a pinch to enhance drinks, baked goods, sauces, desserts, and more.
Health Benefits of Peppermint
In addition to its stellar flavor, peppermint provides some health perks. Here are a few of the wellness benefits attributed to this minty herb:
- Aids digestion - Peppermint has long been used to help relieve digestive issues like bloating, stomach pain, and gas due to its ability to relax gastrointestinal muscles. The menthol in peppermint relaxes the smooth muscles of the digestive tract.
- Alleviates headaches - Applying peppermint essential oil or powder diluted in water to the temples and forehead provides a cooling sensation that can ease headache pain and tension.
- Boosts energy - The invigorating scent of peppermint powder is energizing and may help fight fatigue. The menthol increases alertness, making this an ideal herb for a pick-me-up.
- Freshens breath - Peppermint powder is a quick and easy way to freshen breath. The menthol has antibacterial effects that help kill germs that cause bad breath.
- Relieves allergy symptoms - The menthol in peppermint thins mucus secretions, helping clear nasal congestion from allergies and colds. It also has an anti-inflammatory effect on the nasal cavities and throat.
Key Takeaway: Peppermint powder can aid digestion, ease headaches, boost energy, freshen breath, and relieve allergy symptoms due to its menthol content.
Easy Ways to Use Peppermint Powder Daily
Since a little peppermint powder goes a long way, you can easily incorporate it into your diet on a regular basis. Here are some simple ideas:
- Make your own breath-freshening mints by mixing a few drops of honey with 1⁄4 teaspoon peppermint powder. Roll the mixture into small balls and let set up.
- Add a pinch of peppermint powder to a glass of warm lemon water as a pre-breakfast beverage. Sip it slowly to aid digestion and wake up your senses.
- Stir a small amount of the powder into a cup of plain yogurt and top with berries for an energizing snack or light breakfast.
- For an invigorating midday treat, blend peppermint powder into a fruit smoothie along with spinach or kale.
- Make homemade peppermint tea by steeping the powder in hot water for 5-7 minutes. Sweeten with honey if desired.
- Mix a tiny pinch of peppermint powder into your favorite facial cleanser for a refreshing, cooling sensation.
Key Takeaway: Incorporate peppermint powder into breath mints, lemon water, yogurt, smoothies, tea, and skincare for daily wellness benefits.
DIY Peppermint Powder - How to Dry and Grind Your Own
While you can purchase high-quality peppermint powder from spice shops, it’s also easy and rewarding to make a batch at home. Here is a step-by-step guide:
What You Need
- 1⁄4 cup fresh peppermint leaves, washed and patted dry
- Kitchen towel
- Baking sheet
- Food dehydrator (optional)
- Spice grinder or coffee grinder
Step 1: Dry the Leaves
Spread the peppermint leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in the oven at the lowest temperature, between 105-150°F. Let dry for 30-60 minutes, checking frequently and stirring once or twice to promote even drying. The leaves are ready when all moisture has evaporated and they are brittle.
If you have a food dehydrator, the leaves can dry in 2-4 hours on the dehydrator trays at 95-115°F.
Step 2: Grind the Dried Leaves into Powder
Working in batches, place the crumbled dried leaves into a spice grinder or small food processor. Process for 1-2 minutes, until a fine powder forms. Avoid over-grinding, which could cause the menthol oils to evaporate.
Step 3: Store in an Airtight Container
Transfer the homemade peppermint powder to a clean glass jar or tin. Seal tightly to retain the volatile compounds. Stored properly, the powder will maintain full flavor for up to a year.
Key Takeaway: To make homemade peppermint powder, wash and fully dry the leaves, then grind into a fine powder and store in an airtight container.
Creative Ideas and Recipes with Peppermint Powder
Now that you understand the many benefits of peppermint powder let’s look at some tasty ways to use it in your kitchen repertoire:
Peppermint Iced Tea
Steep 4 peppermint tea bags in 4 cups boiling water for 5 minutes. Discard bags and chill tea completely. Stir in 2 Tbsp honey until dissolved. Fill glasses with ice and tea. Add a pinch of peppermint powder to each glass before serving for extra flavor.
Peppermint Hot Cocoa
Heat 4 cups milk with 1 tsp peppermint powder until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat and whisk in 1⁄2 cup cocoa powder and 1 tsp vanilla until smooth. Sweeten to taste with sugar or honey. Top with whipped cream.
Peppermint Yogurt Dip
Stir together 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 tsp lemon juice, 1 crushed garlic clove, 1⁄4 tsp salt, and 1⁄4 tsp peppermint powder. Chill for 1 hour before serving with fresh vegetables or pita chips.
Peppermint Oatmeal Cookies
Cream together 1 cup butter and 1 cup sugar until fluffy. Beat in 2 eggs and 2 tsp peppermint powder extract. Stir in 3 cups rolled oats, 1 1⁄2 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1⁄2 tsp salt. Form dough into balls and bake at 350°F for 8-10 minutes.
Peppermint Cucumber Salad
Process in a food processor: 2 cups fresh basil, 1⁄2 cup peppermint leaves, 1⁄2 cup walnuts, 1 garlic clove, and 1⁄4 tsp each salt and pepper. With the motor running, slowly add 1⁄2 cup olive oil until smooth. Toss with cooked pasta or use as a sandwich spread.
Make a batch of brownies from any recipe. As soon as they come out of the oven, sprinkle the tops with 1 Tbsp confectioners’ sugar and 1⁄4 tsp peppermint powder. Let cool completely before cutting.
Melt 12 oz chopped dark chocolate with 1⁄4 tsp peppermint powder. Spread on a parchment-lined pan. Let set 5 minutes. Drizzle with 4 oz melted white chocolate and sprinkle with crushed peppermint candies. Chill until firm.
What does peppermint powder taste like?
Peppermint powder has a pure, concentrated peppermint flavor. It is extremely refreshing, cooling, and slightly sweet. The taste is much stronger than using fresh leaves.
Is there a substitute if I don’t have peppermint powder?
You can use a few drops of pure peppermint extract in recipes that call for the powder. Crush some peppermint leaves or candies if you have them on hand. Spearmint can work too.
Should peppermint powder be stored in the fridge?
No, peppermint powder can be kept in a sealed container in the pantry. Keep away from heat, light, and moisture. Refrigeration is unnecessary.
Can I use peppermint powder in savory main dishes?
Use sparingly as the flavor can overpower other ingredients. Start with just a pinch mixed into a marinade or dry rub. Taste and add more if needed. It works best with richer meats and sauces.
What’s the difference between peppermint and spearmint?
Peppermint has a stronger, cooler flavor, while spearmint is a little sweeter and milder. They can substitute for each other, but the flavor won’t be quite the same. Use less of whichever one has the more intense flavor.
Providing a heady minty aroma and refreshing taste, peppermint powder deserves a spot in any well-stocked spice collection.
It can elevate drinks, desserts, salads, main dishes, and more with its cool herbal flavor.
Peppermint powder also provides digestion-aiding, energy-boosting, and breath-freshening benefits.