Anyone who has ever planted mint knows it can grow like a weed.

If you’ve got oodles of the herb, from your garden or the market, there are plenty of ways to enjoy it. Here are a few of our favorites on hot summer days:

Stir chopped mint into softened cream cheese for a new bagel spread.

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Toss it in your pitcher for mint water. You can combine it with fruit, such as lemon slices or chunks of strawberries. Or try it with sliced cucumber for something more savory.

Add it in with basil when making pesto.

Sprinkle it over ice cream. Fresh mint goes as well with vanilla as it does with chocolate.

Freeze individual mint leaves in ice cubes to add to beverages any time.

Sprinkle it over fruit salad.

Make a mint simple syrup to use in lemonade, tea, sparkling water and cocktails: In a small pot, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup of fresh mint. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Let simmer 1 minute. Cool completely. Strain out mint. Keep refrigerated.

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Got a story you'd like to see on NJ Flavor? Email Jackie Lieberman at jlieberman@tapinto.net