Corn mint, Mentha arvensis
Corn mint, also called wild mint or field mint, grows naturally in Finland. Like other varieties of mint, corn mint contains menthol, which gives it its aroma. However, corn mint contains less menthol than cultivated types of mint. Different types of mint readily hybridise with each other, so their appearance and taste vary greatly. Corn mint thrives in many environments, so much so that it can in some cases be considered a weed.
Corn mint can be used both fresh and dried for adding flavour to various types of dishes. Mint sauce is often used as an accompaniment to roast lamb. But fresh mint can also be used to season fish, for example, and its leaves are a perfect addition to foods containing apple. Dried corn mint also makes a delicious tea.
Something to try
Cuban-style non-alcoholic mint drink (Virgin mojito)
A few sprigs of fresh corn mint
2.5 teaspoons of cane sugar
½ lime, and its finely-grated rind
6 cl green tea, chilled
3 cl soda water, chilled
Squeeze the juice of the ½ lime into a short glass, and add the crushed ice, the grated lime rind, sugar and mint. Crush the mixture with a suitable instrument, for instance a small wooden mallet. Fill the glass up with ice, and mix until the outside of the glass is frosted. Add the chilled green tea and chilled soda water. Garnish with mint sprigs and serve immediately.
Gathering the plants
Corn mint grows in Finland on shores and in meadows and gardens as far north as Oulu. Mint leaves can be picked throughout the growing season.
Other interesting facts
Menthol, which is obtained from mint, amongst other sources, is used to relieve pain or itching by applying it directly to the affected area. Menthol-containing cold gels are used to relieve various minor pains such as neck, shoulder and back pain. It is also an ingredient in many sweets, throat lozenges, and dental hygiene products and breath fresheners.