Mint Key facts If growing mint, keep it in a pot or it will take over your whole garden. Mint is hugely popular across the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East. Peppermint tea is known to soothe stomach ache and it's a particularly good tea to drink after a meal.

Mint comes in a whole range of varieties that can be used for cooking, and when I first started a herb garden I found myself the proud owner of several kinds.

However, I gradually came to realise that spearmint was the one I used most, and I now grow only that. This is the one used for mint sauce and for cooking new potatoes. When it’s being chopped the kitchen is filled with the most fragrant aroma; and a couple of sprigs added to boiling new potatoes will permeate the room with an appetising smell too.

In the summer it is, like chives, a herb I use frequently. One unusual application I discovered in the Amalfi area of Italy is to place fresh mint leaves in the belly of fish before baking, grilling or frying them.

One word of warning about mint: never use it dried – it loses all its flavour and becomes very musty and lifeless.

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