The History of Mints
Mints, like licorice, have been around since the early times of man. The word mint comes from a Greek myth involving Hades, the god of the underworld. Hades was romantically involved with a nymph named Minthe. Persephone, Hades wife, was angered by this relationship and transformed Minthe into a plant, a sweet herb. Ancient Greeks placed mint leaves around the deceased to cover the smell and remind Hades of what he had done. Other cultures, however, had different uses for mint including using the herb in cuisines and medical remedies.
Mint was brought to America for medicinal purposes by early Colonists. Later, mint became a popular homemade candy. In the late 1790s, mint was commercially cultivated in Massachusetts. By the 19th century, America had the kings of peppermint – Hiram G. Hotchkiss and A.M. Todd, noted mint growers and dealers. By the turn of the century, the popularity of the mint flavor was soaring.
In the early 1900s, mint was used primarily as flavoring for gum, candy and toothpaste. Clarence Crane invented and marketed a candy called Lifesaver in 1912. It was named because of its unique circular shape. In 1927, Europe joined the mint candy industry when Austrian Edward Hass invented PEZ as an adult candy. The term PEZ comes from the German word for peppermint, pfefferminz.
Today, mint is used a variety of candies from jelly leaves to chewing gum. The hard candies typically referred to as mints come in a variety of flavors and styles.