During what I believe was my last in-person shopping foray at the beginning of the pandemic this spring, I was enticed at the place I went for tomato starts by a rack of expensive herb plants in four inch pots -- there was an astonishing array of varieties not usually seen in these parts.
I ended up buying half a dozen new-to-me herbs. One of these was described on the tag as "orange mint" -- no latin species name given.
It's thriving in one of my growing containers. It's beautiful. But I can't figure out what good it is, and am looking for suggestions.
It's pretty, with roundish (by mint-family standards) leaves that maybe have an orangish color? (I am color vision impaired.) But it tastes like neither mint nor citrus, although online descriptions say it does. To my taste buds, it's a sort of bitter basil, with a bit of the bergamot Earl Gray tea flavor. The online descriptions frequently mention bitterness and hits of bergamot, so I do think this is that stuff.
At first I figured, tiny pot, poor growing conditions, grow it out and wait for the orange and mint flavors to appear. But now it's a very happy plant that should taste like it's always gonna taste.
Online suggestions include: making tea, flavoring vinegar for salad dressing, making syrup for cocktails, using it as a salad herb. The flavor strikes me as barely suitable for any of these uses, although I will make experiments. Supposedly the flowers are particularly attractive to butterflies; I would expect flowers within a few weeks given how well the plant is doing, and that's probably enough reason for me to keep it around.
Meanwhile, I thought I'd see if any of you lovely people are fans of this herb. If so, please tell me how you enjoy it! It may simply be not to my taste, but I want to give it a fair shot.