Mint, peppermint, spearmint, and applemint are all varieties of mint. What’s the deal with all the mint names? Is one the same as the other?
To put it simply, mint is a hypernym for the Mentha plant family, which means there are hundreds of mint varieties, the most well-known of which being peppermint and spearmint.
In reality, spearmint is often what you receive when you purchase mint as a herb at the market. So, when we talk about mint, we’re talking about spearmint since that’s the name under which the plant is often sold.
We’ll also expose you to some of the most well-known mint types. But first, let’s differentiate between mint (spearmint) and peppermint.
- Difference Between Peppermint and Mint
- Peppermint vs Mint Comparison Table
- Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?
- Can I Substitute Peppermint for Mint and Vice Versa?
- Other Popular Mint Varieties
- What is mint and peppermint?
- Is peppermint made from mint leaves?
- What’s the difference between mint and peppermint smell?
- What is the difference between fresh mint and peppermint tea?
- Does mint and peppermint have the same benefits?
- Are mint and peppermint tea the same?
- Which is better mint or peppermint?
- Can you substitute peppermint for mint?
- Is peppermint tea just dried mint?
- Does mint taste like peppermint?
Difference Between Peppermint and Mint
The presence of menthol is the primary distinction between peppermint and mint. Peppermint produces 40% menthol, whereas spearmint produces just 0.5%.
Mentha is the scientific name for the Lamiaceae mint family. These evergreen plants originated in Eurasia but have since spread to every continent.
The Mentha family has square stems and leaves that grow in pairs. There are 25 kinds, but botanists estimate that there are numerous cross-breeds, bringing the total to 600!
Peppermint and spearmint are the most popular mint varieties. Let us compare them in depth.
Mentha spicata, sometimes known as spearmint, is a species of mint in the Lamiaceae family. Mentha piperita, sometimes known as peppermint, is a Lamiaceae mint hybrid that is a cross between spearmint and watermint.
Peppermint leaves have bigger leaves with sharper edges. Peppermint is less airy as well. Spearmint features smaller, more spherical leaves, as well as hairier leaves and stems.
Color: Peppermint is usually a deeper green than spearmint. Peppermint flowers are purple, whilst spearmint blooms are blue or pink.
Peppermint is a low-creeping plant that develops to be around 1 3ft tall. Spearmint is a tall, straight plant that may reach 3 feet in height.
Peppermint’s ability to expand is limited to a 3ft spread in the surrounding flora. Spearmint, on the other hand, has nearly unlimited capacity for development over the whole vegetation.
Peppermint is known for having the strongest menthol flavor of any minty species. Spearmint, on the other hand, has a much more delicate taste that is also somewhat sweet.
The perfume of peppermint is strong and minty. The aroma of spearmint is more subtle and fruity.
Cooking: Spearmint is commonly used in savory foods, but peppermint is used in sweet dishes since it pairs well with zesty and chocolaty tastes.
Peppermint vs Mint Comparison Table
|Botanical Name||Mentha piperita||Mentha spicata|
|Type of Mint||Hybrid of peppermint and water mint||Primal variety|
|Appearance||Larger and sharper edges, less fluffy||Smaller and more spherical leaves, as well as hairier leaves and stems|
|Color||Darker green leaves with purple blossoms||Lighter green with blue or pink blossoms|
|Height||Low-creeping plant that grows around 1 to 3 ft tall||A straight plant that may grow up to 3 ft tall|
|Ability to Spread||3ft spread||Virtually limitless potential for growth|
|Flavor||Rich menthol taste||More delicate flavor that is also a bit sweet|
|Smell||Strong and minty||Delicate and fruity|
|Cooking Usage||Sweet dishes||Savory dishes|
Nutritional Content Breakdown: Which One Is Healthier?
|Category (100 grams)||Peppermint||Spearmint|
|Vitamins & Minerals|
Peppermint tea has more vitamin A and vitamin C than spearmint tea. Spearmint, on the other hand, is lower in calories and richer in iron and Vitamin B6. Peppermint compensates for its increased calorie content with higher vitamin and mineral value. Peppermint is the more nutritious alternative, according to the nutritional chart below, although both are equally beneficial.
However, let us look at what the Mentha plants are most useful for:
- Mint not only reduces congestion in the bronchi, lungs, throat, and nose, but it also helps with hay fever and allergy symptoms.
- The major element in mint, menthol, has antibacterial and antiseptic properties that assist digestion.
- Patients suffering from asthma and other respiratory diseases may find that ingesting mint is surprisingly relaxing.
- Mint leaves include salicylic acid and vitamin A, both of which are proven to alleviate acne and redness.
Both spearmint and peppermint are rich in nutrients, and incorporating them into your diet is simple. Mint leaves taste great in beverages, salads, rice dishes, and, most significantly, teas. Fresh leaves may also be added to water, smoothies, and drinks.
Can I Substitute Peppermint for Mint and Vice Versa?
Peppermint has a far higher menthol concentration, which gives the plant its unique cooling flavor and aroma. Despite having similar properties, peppermint and spearmint are not ideal substitutes for one another due to menthol concentration differences.
Add peppermint to a drink or dessert since its strong menthol concentration complements richer flavors like chocolate. Spearmint’s gentle sweet tones, on the other hand, complement savory dishes like pesto sauce or spring rolls.
Peppermint pairs well with winter-themed cocktails such as Peppermint Chocolate Martinis and Peppermint Mochas, as well as desserts such as Peppermint Cheesecake and Bavarian Mints. Spearmint pairs well with spring and summer dishes such as a refreshing fruit salad with honey and orange juice, tomato soup (with a bonus tip on how to serve it), and minty one-pot spaghetti.
Other Popular Mint Varieties
We’ve already met the two most well-known mint plants, peppermint and spearmint, but the mint family doesn’t stop there. As previously stated, there are over 600 types of mint! We’ve included a few of them here.
Gingermint offers a traditional mint taste with a hint of ginger. It has a distinct mint taste that is predominantly sweet with a dash of heat near the conclusion.
When used in cooking, it complements both prepared foods such as pasta and soups as well as fresh components like as fresh tomatoes or melons.
Ginger mint is most often used as an antimicrobial and digestive supplement. A tea made from ginger mint leaves may be used to alleviate fever, headaches, and mild stomach difficulties.
Chocolate mint leaves have a delicious minty and chocolaty taste, comparable to the typical Girl Scout cookie.
Chocolate mint, like the other mint family members, offers similar medicinal advantages for treating fever, stomachaches, and other disorders.
It’s often used in minty hot drinks like hot chocolate, tea, or even coffee, as well as desserts like ice cream, chocolate mousse, and brownies.
Pineapple mint, while being a member of the mint family, has a sweeter and fruitier taste.
This plant has a long history of use in medicine, including the treatment of indigestion, respiratory problems, and nausea. These applications are ascribed to the essential oils, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties of the plant.
Lamb and chicken pair well with pineapple mint. It adds a sweet but vibrant taste that complements the flavor of fresh dips like salsas and chutneys.
Basil mint may be eaten fresh in salads or cooked in meals such as Thai red curry meat or Zucchini pizza.
Basil mint goes well with tomato-based pasta dishes. Remember that while the taste is moderate, the leaves should be added towards the end of the cooking time.
This type, like other mints, has antimicrobial properties. It may be made into tea to aid digestion, ease headaches and fevers, and clean the throat.
This concludes our minty discussion of the differences between peppermint and mint!
Each mint has a distinct taste, but the two most common are spearmint and peppermint. Peppermint, with its minty scent and taste, is a stronger herb in terms of intensity, if not the strongest. This is owing to the fact that it contains 40% mint, while spearmint has just 0.5%.
If you can’t tell the difference and the meal has a strong menthol taste, it’s more probable that the dish contains peppermint.
If a product or recipe asks for mint but does not specify the kind, it is most likely spearmint. Spearmint is more often utilized to compliment rather than overshadow the taste of a food!