Separating mint leaves from their stems seems like a hard task for me. It is taking too much time to separate leaves from the supporting stems in order to use mint leaves in my curries and juices.


  • is it recommended to separate the leaves from the supporting stems? (It is practice in my place to separate leaves and to not include stems in diet.)

  • if yes, then is there any time-efficient procedure for separation?

  • Do you buy the mint or grow your own? I might be inclined to separate at the picking stage if it's home grown
    – Chris H
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 10:21
  • @ChrisH Not homegrown, I buy it from. vegetable market.
    – hanugm
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 11:06
  • cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/103984/…
    – D.W.
    Commented May 6, 2020 at 5:58

2 Answers 2


Separating the leaves of mint from the stem is only necessary if the stem is woody, which partly depends on the variety and age of the mint. The stems of young mint shoots on most varieties of plant are tender and full of mint flavor, so can be used in dishes. Once they get older the shoots become stiff and woody, and can't be left in dishes or pureed. You can still use them to flavor dishes if you remove them before serving, but if you want the leaves to stay in you must remove the leaves.

The best way to remove leaves is to hold the tip of the branch with one hand and loosely grip the branch with your other, then slide your hand down the branch. This pulls the leaves off without you having to pick them off.


Hold the stalk by the tip of the steam and then run your forefinger and thumb down the stalk. You can then just pinch the soft top leaves off and add them to the pile.

E.g. in this youtube video

Some people also will use the holes in a colander instead (the idea being you then have all the leaves in the colander ready to wash, although I never wash mint because I think it makes it taste funny).

You can also buy tools for the same purpose. Such as this one from John Lewis. But I don't really see how it would save more time than using your fingers.

  • 3
    This works on a whole lot of leafy herbs as well. Basil, rosemary, thyme, etc.
    – Tristan
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 17:37

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