Rosemary is one of my favorite winter-time herbs. With the cold weather and low light levels of the winter months, very few herbs will grow here, inside or out. Although I long for a full kitchen herb garden that provides fresh herbs all year long (perhaps with the aid of a grow light) for now I have to be content with what will survive in front of a sunny window.
This is the first post in a new series: Spotlight on Herbs.
My current rosemary bush is two years old, about 3 feet tall, and happily lives in a large pot on our deck all summer, and in front of our sunniest window all winter. I have never been a big fan of dried rosemary, but picked fresh it is beautifully fragrant and a wonderful addition to so many dishes.
Like many perennial herbs, Rosemary can be grown from seed, but it takes a lot of patience to wait for it to reach a good size for harvesting (2 to 3 years!) For this reason I have always purchased my rosemary plants as seedlings. If you are lucky enough to live in zones 8 to 9, you can enjoy rosemary fresh from your garden all year round. Otherwise, it is best planted in a large pot, set in a sunny location during the warm months, and over-wintered indoors.
It can be a bit finicky to successfully transition a Rosemary plant to growing indoors, as they are very prone to suddenly dropping all their leaves and dying on the spot, but there is a wonderful explanation of how to successfully move a rosemary plant indoors here. Rosemary requires good potting soil, a well-draining pot, and should be watered well when dry.
Health and Beauty
Rosemary is reportedly good for the brain; improving concentration and helping to relieve headaches and migraines. In addition, Rosemary stimulates circulation, and is often included in beauty products such as hair rinses, soaps, and creams.
It is easy to enjoy the benefits of rosemary by pouring boiling water over a few sprigs and enjoying a cup of Rosemary tea.
In the Kitchen
There are so many ways to make use of Rosemary in the kitchen. It can be chopped up and added to just about any dish, including soups, stews, sauces, gravies, eggs, vegetable dishes and casseroles. It is also a wonderful addition to homemade breads, biscuits and pitas. I always tuck a few sprigs inside a chicken before roasting, usually along with lemon, onion, or bay leaf. Whole sprigs can be frozen in glass jars in the freezer and removed as needed for fresh flavor at any time of year.
Do you grow Rosemary in your garden? What are your favorite ways to use this versatile herb?
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