18 years ago, my friend’s father gave me a stem of fresh mint to plant in my garden. The lonely stem grew into a mint forest that would’ve taken up the entire neighborhood’s backyard if I had not contained it in a four square meter corner in my garden.
During the summer, I use the mint in every possible way. I use it in my fattoush salad, my bulgur tomato salad, yogurt cucumber salad, lebneh cheese, but my favorite is my mint lemonade, or what I like to call my “Virgin Mojito.”
For the winter, I save the mint in three ways: I either dry it, I puree it with olive oil to make a mint pesto, or, my favorite, is to make a sweet mint paste– a pureed concoction of fresh mint, ginger, and sugar.
To make it, pick fresh mint leaves. Then, wash and place them on cookie sheet lined with a couple of kitchen towels. Left them air dry over night, tossing them a few times in the morning to make sure all the water is gone. After, place about 6 cups of your fresh leaves in a food processor, add 1 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger.
Grind into a smooth paste and spoon the paste into container and place into the refrigerator.
Cut some lemons into 1″ thick pieces. Sprinkle with sugar and kneed the lemons in the sugar to get out all of the juices. Now, let this sit for at least one hour.
When you ready to make your lemonade, spoon one tablespoon of the sweet mint paste into tall glass.
Place a few of the fresh lemon pieces into the glass, and then pour about 1/2 cup of the lemon juice and sugar mixture over the lemons and mint.
Fill the rest of the glass with club soda. Stir gently and savor.