An evergreen herb that is native to Europe, mint is one of the most common herbs used for culinary purposes all over the world. Even thought here are many varieties of mint, the two most commonly used ones are spearmint and peppermint. While peppermint has leaves which are greenish-purple in colour and are shaped like a lance, spearmint has greyish-green leaves which have rounded shapes. They can also be distinguished by their taste – while spearmint is cool and mildly sweet, peppermint has a sharp and intense taste.
When it comes to cooking, spearmint is more commonly used than peppermint. It can be used to add a distinct flavour to tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, peas and various kinds of vegetables. When chopped, it can also be added in green salads or used as salad dressings. Spearmint is heavily used for culinary purposes in the Middle East and the Balkans, where they are used both in fresh and dried forms and added to rice, grilled meat and vegetables. Dried mint is used as a sprinkle to add flavour to hummus, dips, soups and yogurt dressings as well.
Peppermint, on the other hand, is widely used in sweet dishes such as desserts, and also used as a flavouring agent in fruits, sherbets and ice creams.