Mafe Maria: Personal stories by autism parent mentor, Maria Stultz

Ode to Mint

Every time I read about mint, the writer warns me not to plant it directly in soil because of how invasive it is; but I say one of the assets of our home is the weedy domination of mint that fills a large area of my garden from spring to fall.

Closeup of my mint bed in full glory

I didn’t always feel this way, and for some years I let the mint bed grow wild and sadly unused; but a great love affair began four summers ago, when I started making and drinking water kefir and discovered my favorite drink forever: Mint-Fig Kefir.

1.5 quarts of water kefir culturing with fresh mint leaves and figs on my kitchen counter

This drink alone is worth the work I’ve done the last two springs attempting to contain the mint and carve out space for other plants, and such is my love for it that last fall I decided I couldn’t go another winter without it. Kiki and I harvested all of the mint before the freezing weather would burn it, and I preserved it in ice cubes, dry flakes, and powder. I trimmed it all to the ground, mulched it with organic matter, and kissed her good night.

Bollo helping me harvest all the mint before the first frost in OctoberLarge brown bag full of mint ready to be preserved; I collected three or four of these bagsHomemade mint powder

Not only was I able to enjoy my beloved refreshing kefir throughout the winter, but also we fell in love with mint chocolate truffles.

Truffles!… Everybody loved the mint ones (my powder's debut).

And every time my mint emerges in the spring I feel such joy I want to sing.

New mint leaves poking through the winter mulch

This year I’ve used mint even more, incorporating it in our yummy raw veggie dips for spring rolls, venturing to cook a successful Thai chicken curry, and making mint coconut ice cream —one of our new favorite treats this summer (not Joaquin’s).

Two scoops of mint coconut ice cream ready to eatThai chicken curry 'Chopped' style (i.e. transforming sweet to savory from a failed attempt at coconut mint ice cream)=Mint washed and wrapped like the perfect bouquet it is in my home

Thank you my darling for gracing my garden,
For nourishing me,
For every joy you give me…

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