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Peppermint vs. Spearmint

Although confusing which type of mint (peppermint vs. spearmint) to use in your recipe won’t necessarily ruin your creation, there are differences between the two in terms of flavor and uses.

Peppermint

Peppermint is an incredibly pungent—almost spicy—herb. (Its name is starting to seem a bit more fitting, huh?) And though peppermint is perhaps the better known of the two, it’s actually a natural hybrid of spearmint and water mint. This explains why it is so much more potent than its counterpart. Because peppermint is a mix of two types of mint, it contains a higher content of menthol (40 percent as opposed to spearmint’s 0.5 percent). Menthol is the chemical ingredient that creates that recognizable and much-loved cooling effect on the mouth.

You might have noticed that peppermint typically only makes a prominent appearance in your grocery aisles during the holidays (bring on the peppermint barkcandy canes,  and peppermint patties!), but its refreshing flavor is perfect to enjoy year-round—and not even necessarily in the kitchen. Peppermint serves a whole slew of medicinal purposes. It’s known to soothe sore throats and achy muscles, stop runny noses, and relieve stress. Its strong flavor is best suited for sweet dishes, especially those with chocolate, which is why your fondest memories of the mint are probably when it’s crushed on top of an ooey-gooey lava cake or swirled into a heartwarming mug of hot cocoa. Find out how sniffing peppermint and other smells can help you lose weight.

Spearmint

Compared to peppermint, spearmint has a delicate flavor and fragrance that is often described as sweet. It gets its flavor from the chemical ingredient carvone, which is much subtler than the aforementioned menthol and doesn’t evoke the same cooling sensation. Spearmint’s uses are primarily restricted to the culinary and commercial realms (think shaving creams and toothpaste). But it does have some notable healing effects, such as the ability to alleviate nausea and hiccups. Check out these 8 foods that will freshen your breath almost instantly.

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Information provided by RD.COM.

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