The making of peppermint sugar, or the efficient use of leftovers.
In my garden, I grow Mentha x piperita 'Mitcham', the best of all peppermint cultivars, the one with the most menthol in it.
From July or so onwards I've picked branches of peppermint and hung'em up in bundles; the leaf went into a jar about 10 days after I'd hung it up to dry, the stalks went into a big paper bag.
That's 3 liters of dried peppermint leaf in one big glass jar. It's crushed, in order to fit more in. While this might sound like a lot it won't last me through spring; you need a lot of peppermint for peppermint fudge, and I also use it to make teas tastier.
And I have a lot of stalks, colored deep dark purple or simply green. There'll be a lot of peppermint sugar.
These 'Mitcham' stalks have a very strong taste. My inferior peppermint cultivar doesn't get picked, as it's, well, inferior. Not very strong.
Dried peppermint stalk sugar
Pic: Dried peppermint stalks in a jar, topped up with sugar.
Cut (or break) your dried stalks into lengths that'll fit into your glass jar(s), put them in (as many as will fit - the more stalks the stronger the sugar), add sugar, and wait for a month or three. This peppermint sugar will be done for xmas - nice gift. Strain out the stalks before giving the jars away and add a recipe or two if you so like.
Dried peppermint leaf sugar
If you haven't dried peppermint, and thus have no dried stalks, you can use storebought dried peppermint leaf, too. Mix, or blend, whichever you like. Store for a while before use. Note, your sugar won't be white and innocent-looking, it'll be green, because you can't get all the leaf out of the sugar -- nor do you want to.
Fresh peppermint sugar
You can also use fresh peppermint, but then you have to use a completely different approach: the water in the fresh herb will make your sugar'n'leaf into a sticky inconvenient mess. You'll need to dry it before you can use it.
Chop leaf up in whatever ways you like, add sugar, mix. Or blend, if you want to. Pour onto cookie sheet, let dry in oven on about 50-60 deg. C for an hour or three (I've forgotten the details, it's been a while since I've made peppermint sugar this way), or airdry on a cookie sheet on a table (protect against flies...) for a few days.
Your fresh herb sugar will be lumpy. Crush it up, or blend it, pour it into a glass jar, label.
What to use peppermint sugar for? Try making black currant jam or rhubarb pie or soup with it, try using it in your normal baking and cooking, or try adding it to your otherwise bland tea. Yum!
Update: the peppermint stem sugar isn't half as strong as a sugar made with blended (or powdered) peppermint leaf. Peppermint stem syrup, on the other hand, is just dandy.