Culinary Rosemary

Find these at your local Co-op or Farmers Market

Rosemary is a pungent, sun-loving herb that grows best well drained poor soil. Its name is derived from the Latin word ros(dew) and marinus(sea) and has been referred to as “dew of the sea” because this perennial scrub thrives near the seaside in dry rocky areas. As a result, rosemary is found in abundance in most Mediterranean countries.

Rosemary grows as an evergreen bush which can reach two to six feet in height.  It has pale blue flowers and spiky leaves that resemble pine needles. The leaves are glossy green on top, and pale gray green underneath. There are numerous varieties of rosemary, some grow upright, and others grow closer to the ground as a trailing plant.  All of the varieties have similar flavors, aroma and culinary uses.

Rosemary has a pine-like aroma with a minty almost pepper-like balsamic taste. Its flavor is very strong and can easily overpower or dominate a dish. Rosemary is a hardy herb and does not lose its flavor in long, slow cooking. Its best served with full bodied foods such as lamb, chicken, pots roasts and stews. It also goes well with starchy foods like scones and bread.

In the kitchen, rosemary can be used similarly whether it’s fresh or dried.  A whole sprig can be tossed into your dish, or you can strip the leaves and crumble it in at the last minute to release the aroma of the oils. In the summer, I use fresh rosemary because it’s higher in nutrients, such as Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Potassium and Copper.  I dry my own for winter use by tying it in bunches with a string and hanging upside down in dark place.

I frequently add Rosemary in my eggs or sprinkled on roasted potatoes and root vegetables. For a simple delicious Red Roasted Potato with Rosemary recipe go to; http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/robin-miller/roasted-red-potatoes-with-rosemary-recipe.html.  Thank you Robin!

While a little rosemary can add a delicious accent to many dishes, its pungent aroma also offers some benefits. The strong smell rosemary leaves emit is thought to promote memory, stimulate your mind, and clears your senses.