Also known as mint, spearmint strongly resembles peppermint, but with lance-shaped leaves that are generally stem-less. Its generally sweet flavor imparts a cool sensation to the mouth, whereas peppermint has a stronger menthol taste. For most culinary purposes spearmint is the preferred variety. Mint combines well with many vegetables such as new potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, and peas. Peppermint is more commonly used in desserts, adding fresh flavor to fruits, ices, and sherberts. Spearmint is popular in the Balkans and Middle East, where it is used both fresh and dried with grilled meats, stuffed vegetables and rice and is an essential ingredient of dolma. Yogurt dressings, dips, and soups often include mint. Peppermint is used to flavor toothpaste, chewing gum, and liqueurs such as crème de menthe.
- .5 oz