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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