Spearmint vs peppermint Guide. Both Spearmint and Peppermint belong to the mint family. You might think that they both look alike but actually they are different on the flavor, the appearance, and their unique qualities. If you aren’t familiar with the mints then you might think that they are the same.
Even though spearmint and peppermint belong to the same family they both belong to different species. Spearmint belongs to the spicata species whereas peppermint belongs to the Piperita species.
Nowadays there are 600 varieties that you can choose from. Below we are going to give you tips on how to distinguish them and the different uses that they have both in cooking but as herbs too.
Spearmint and peppermint have different leaves, flowers, and flavor too. Mints including these two have green leaves which are opposite from each other and they develop in pairs. Their stems are sturdy and square.
The flowers are different. The peppermint will produce purple flowers that will grow on a terminal, they will appear whorled too. The spearmint will produce pink or blue flowers that will be in terminal clusters and the flowers will taper.
The leaves of the spearmint are round lanced and they have an oblong shape. They also grow directly on their branches. The leaves of the peppermint seem to be sharp and toothed. The leaves grow from the stems.
Flavor and Fragrance
Spearmint and peppermint have a difference in flavor too. Peppermint has a strong flavor. Its flavor comes from menthol; it contains 40% of menthol which also gives a cooler aftertaste that most people love.
Spearmint contains carvone and 0,5% of menthol. This gives it the delicate, sweet and mild flavor that it has. When you’re chewing a gum this is what makes the flavor so familiar to you and gives you a great taste.
Additionally, we find the spearmint flavor not only in chewing gums but also in toothpaste, candies and ice creams. Peppermint flavor can be found in chocolates, liqueur, and toothpaste too. We also find the fragrance of it in shampoos, soaps and body creams and body washes.
Both spearmint and peppermint produce oil. The oil of the spearmint is used in medical compounds such as syrups: for coughing and cold. It is also an aromatic herb. It was and is still used in cuisines. The Greek cuisine uses both spearmint and peppermint as a herb in different dishes.
You can use spearmint and peppermint to make tea which relaxes you. Peppermint contains a lot of nutrients and vitamins. Its oil can be used for the muscles. Apart from that, it is used in antiseptics and in decongestants. The spearmint can be used as a mosquito repellent.
Peppermint, in general, is used in products that will improve our health whereas the spearmint is used in food and cocktails. Below we are going to talk about the health benefits that they both have.
Spearmint Health Benefits
Both spearmint and peppermint have great benefits for our health. Spearmint is great for our health because it has menthol which makes it antimicrobial and antibacterial. It will help you from infections in your mouth and throat.
It also balances the hormones. Additionally, you can maintain a healthy blood pressure, it helps you with digestion, and it helps you with the morning sickness when you are pregnant and it gives you a great breath.
Peppermint also has many advantages for our health because it has antiseptic properties which make it great for our dental health. If you suffer from your stomach then all you have to do is to drop a couple of drops in your water. When you drink the water you will feel much better.
Also, it can help with the headaches, it eases muscle pains (you can rub the muscles with the oil), it prevents allergies and it minimizes nausea too. Your immune system will be boosted too. From what we saw spearmint and peppermint have amazing benefits for our health. Let’s have a look at other ways that we can use spearmint and peppermint.
Spearmint and Peppermint Recipes
Spearmint and peppermint can be used in different recipes too. With peppermint, you can make your own Mojitos.
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 1 piece of peeled ginger
- 2 cups of peppermint
- 1 bottle of white rum
- 1 ½ fresh lime juice
- 2 ¼ cups of club soda
- 12 fresh peppermints
What you actually have to do is to add in a saucepan the sugar, the water, and the ginger. Let them boil for about 5’. Strain the syrup, add the lime and the rum and stir. Place the jar in the fridge and let it cool. To create your drink, add ice, ½ cup of the Mojito, 3 tablespoons of club soda and stir. Finally, add the leaves and you are ready.
With the Spearmint, you can make the following delicious Greek salad. You will need the following ingredients to make it.
- 1 ½ cup of Greek Feta Cheese
- 2 medium garlic cloves chopped
- 2 tablespoons of Mustard
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 2 medium scallions sliced
- 2 tablespoons of spearmint
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of vinegar
- 1 pound flat-leaf kale
First of all, wash all the vegetables very well and chop them. Add the oil, the salt, the garlic, the vinegar, the mustard and whisk well. Once you have everything inside add the Feta cheese and the spearmint and you are ready.
Spearmint and peppermint from we just saw even though they might seem the same they actually aren’t. They have different flowers, leaves and different color of flowers. Both spearmint and peppermint have different flavors and different uses.
They can be used in foods and in drinks. They are herbs that basically are everywhere. We hope that with the tips that we provided you, you will be able to distinguish which one is which. Let’s not forget that spearmint and peppermint are great for our health.