To harvest mint, take small cuttings from a mint plant throughout the growing season. Harvest a larger amount right before the plant flowers by trimming the mint above the second set of leaves.
- Aim for morning harvests
Whenever possible, harvest mint in the morning. This is when the oils in the plant are strongest, which yields optimal flavor.
- Harvest individual leaves
Trim individual leaves and sprigs throughout the growing season, using a sharp knife or scissors. In addition to giving the gardener usable leaves, this helps keep the overall size of the mint plant in check and promotes plant growth.
- Take a large cutting
Wait until the mint plant is nearly ready to flower to take a larger harvest. Right before it blooms, the mint flavor is at its most intense. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut the mint plant right above the second set of leaves. The plant continues growing, allowing two to three large harvests for each growing season.
- Store harvested mint
Store freshly harvested mint in a damp paper towel placed in an unsealed plastic bag. Keep fresh mint refrigerated for optimal shelf-life. Alternatively, dry the mint in a dehydrator or by baking the leaves in an oven set to the lowest heat.