Herbs and SpicesFood Tips

Can I Use Catnip in Place of Mint When Cooking?

We have what I think is wild catnip growing on our land, at least my cats like it. My question is, is catnip OK to cook with in place of mint. If so, are they the same plant?

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By Ellen Williams from Ontario, Canada

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April 22, 20110 found this helpful

I haven't cooked with catnip. I read in one of my herb books that hundreds of years back people used catnip for its slightly hallucinogenic effects. Before you do any cooking with catnip, do an internet search & plenty of research. Even if it is safe for cooking, be careful of any allergic reactions.

Catnip falls in the genus nepeta; mint in the genus mentha. Both are in the family Lamiaceae. They are not the same plant.

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April 22, 20110 found this helpful

Feel the stems of the plant. If they're square, it is a mint. There is a mint called "catmint" that often grows wild and in great abundance.

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If it is a mint, it would be worth trying on a small scale.

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April 22, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks for your help. Thought that all lamiaceae had square stalks.
Got some mint at the grocery store for my recipe and "accidently" dropped some on the floor. My cats were uninterested.

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April 23, 20110 found this helpful

That may be, Nellie. We used to have both in our yard, though, and our catnip didn't have the square stems but we didn't plant it, so were only going by what the neighbor told us (as far as it being true catnip). My dad's cats loved the catmint, though; I used to dry it and make toys!

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