Moroccan mint (Mentha spicata var. crispa, Moroccan) is a cultivar of the North African spearmint (Mentha spicata var. crispa), which is also known as nana mint, garden mint, common mint, lamb mint, and mackerel mint. Moroccan mint has a mild peppery flavor and a sweet, minty fresh aroma. It contains less menthol compared to other mints, especially peppermint, but has a nice minty scent.
From Wikipedia: “Spearmint, or spear mint (binomial Mentha spicata, synonym Mentha viridis), also known as garden mint, common mint, lamb mint and mackerel mint, is a species of mint native to much of Europe and Asia (Middle East, Himalayas, China etc.), and naturalized in parts of northern and western Africa, North America, and South America, as well as various oceanic islands.”
Description of the plant:
“It is a herbaceous, rhizomatous, perennial plant growing 30–100 cm tall, with variably hairless to hairy stems and foliage, and a wide-spreading fleshy underground rhizome. The stem is square-shaped, a trademark of the mint family of herbs. Spearmint produces flowers in slender spikes, each flower pink or white, 2.5–3 mm long, and broad.”
“Hybrids involving spearmint include Mentha × piperita (peppermint; hybrid with Mentha aquatica), Mentha × gracilis (ginger mint, syn. M. cardiaca; hybrid with Mentha arvensis), and Mentha × villosa (large apple mint, hybrid with Mentha suaveolens).”
“Spearmint leaves can be used fresh, dried, or frozen. They can also be preserved in salt, sugar, sugar syrup, alcohol, or oil.”
“Moroccan mint (Mentha spicata var. crispa Moroccan), along with green tea, hot water (60–80 °C), and copious amounts of sugar, is an ingredient in the national drink of Morocco. It is used as a culinary herb to season a wide variety of dishes, especially salads, and is also bundled and hung as an insect deterrent.*”
“Spearmint is used for its aromatic oil, referred to as oil of spearmint. The most abundant compound in spearmint oil is R-(–)-carvone, which gives spearmint its distinctive smell. Spearmint oil also contains significant amounts of limonene, dihydrocarvone, and 1,8-cineol. Unlike oil of peppermint, oil of spearmint contains minimal amounts of menthol and menthone. It is used as a flavoring for toothpaste and confectionery, and is sometimes added to shampoos and soaps.
Used as a fumigant, spearmint essential oil is an effective insecticide against adult moths.”
“In preliminary research, spearmint essential oil showed potential for antifungal activity against food poisoning pathogens and had no evidence of mutagenicity in the Ames test.”
Fresh Moroccan mint can be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a short period of time. Dried mint should be stored in a cool, dry place. Freshly picked mint has the best flavor and most intensive aroma.
Moroccan mint tea:
To prepare Moroccan mint tea: For one liter of tea, you will need 2–3 tbsp of green tea rolled into pellets (e.g., gunpowder tea), 4 fresh sprigs of Moroccan mint (or 6 dried), 1 tbsp sugar (in certain countries, even more is used), and water. Pour hot water over the green tea pellets, and then pour the first batch through a strainer and discard. This will eliminate any bitterness. Add the mint and the sugar, pour boiling water over the tea leaves, and steep for 5 minutes. If the tea is not sweet enough for your taste., you can add some more sugar. And if you are serving guests, we suggest placing fresh mint leaves in the tea glasses to make the presentation visually appealing.
“The name 'spear' mint derives from the pointed leaf tips.”
Note (italics): * = Translation from a German Wikipedia entry