Food - Drink
Mint Vs. Peppermint: What's The Difference?
By NATASHA BAILEY
Mint is a vital ingredient in more than just your chewing gum, tea, and ice cream; it has a time-honored place in over-the-counter medicine and home health remedies as well. Mint's soothing and "cooling" qualities come from menthol, and menthol levels are often the biggest difference between the many varieties of mint.
"Mint" is the overarching term for over a dozen plants, and peppermint and spearmint (often called just "mint") are the most well-known. Peppermint has a 40% concentration of menthol, whereas spearmint only has 0.5%; this makes peppermint a much more powerful herb when it comes to health and culinary applications.
If you’re preparing a cocktail or a dessert, peppermint can cut through heavier flavors, but for more subtle recipes like pesto or spring rolls, spearmint offers a more subtle boost. Peppermint is also the essential "wintery" flavor in Christmas candy canes and dishes, while spearmint suits spring and summer meals due to its light freshness.