Prue Leith's Time-Saving Trick For Stripping Mint Leaves

The Wall Street Journal reports that America is in a fresh herb revolution. Americans have come to understand the power of utilizing a variety of fresh herbs, and now cooking without them in some dishes seems like wasted potential. MSU Extension explains that fresh herbs are also more nutritious than their dried counterparts. Fresh, leafy herbs often contain an abundance of vitamins as well as the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenols. It's lovely to add fresh herbs to a meal whenever possible, but prepping them can feel like a serious waste of time as each leaf or sprig is removed from the stalk.

Luckily, there is an easy answer to this problem, and it comes to us from none other than Dame Prue Leith, who is best known as the colorfully styled judge of "The Great British Baking Show." While she might be best known for critiquing baked goods, she has also had a long, successful career outside of baking. Distracitfy states that Leith operated her own Michelin-starred London restaurant named 'Leith's' for 25 years. She's also spent plenty of time sharing her love of cooking by teaching others at Leith's School of Food and Wine and Prue Leith's Chef Academy as well. Needless to say, Leith is certainly full of culinary knowledge and hacks just like this one.

Colanders make quick work of mint

In August 2022, Leith took to her Instagram to share her favorite way to quickly shed the leaves off of a stalk of mint. The best part is that all you'll need is a colander. Leith says to remove the stalks of mint, simply pull them through the holes of the colander. Make sure the leaves are on the inside of the colander as you do this. Then pull the stalks through the holes of the colander. As Leith puts it, " ... what happens is the stalks stay in your hands, and the leaves stay in the colander." This just goes to show that while colanders seem like single-use tools, they're actually surprisingly versatile.

Taste of Home points out that this trick is good for more than simply mint as well. While it depends on the size of your colander's holes, most varieties of fresh herbs can easily be taken off their stalks with a quick drag through the colander. You can also purchase specialized herb strippers like this one from Etsy if you want to be prepared for anything. But really any appliance or utensil with holes in it will work. My Food Book states that you can use a slotted spoon or even the holes of a cheese grater to strip herbs. Just be sure to give them a quick, snug pull when you do.