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What is Rosemary?
Evergreen rosemary is a savoury kitchen herb with a pungent flavour, needle-like leaves and blue flowers, filling the air with a pleasant woodsy scent. The rosemary plant’s scientific name is Rosmarinus officinalis, which translates to “mist of the sea,” as its grey-green foliage is thought to resemble mist against the sea cliffs of the Mediterranean, where the plant originates.
Fresh rosemary is often used in Italian and French cuisine.
How to grow and care for Rosemary –
Growing rosemary in containers is surprisingly simple, and you can use the leaves to add flavour and variety to some culinary dishes.
The planting season for Rosemary starts in August for the Cape and September in Gauteng.
The easiest way to grow rosemary in a pot is to start with a small bedding plant from a garden centre or nursery, as rosemary is challenging to grow from seed. Rosemary will thrive in a sunny location on your patio or balcony.
Caring for rosemary grown in containers is easy enough. Proper watering is the key to growing potted rosemary herbs, and the best way to determine if the plant needs water is to stick your finger into the soil. If the top 3 to 5 centimetres of soil feels dry, it’s time to water. Water the plant deeply, then let the pot drain. Rosemary in pots generally doesn’t require fertiliser, but you can use a dry or a water-soluble liquid fertiliser if the plant looks pale green or has stunted growth. Too little fertiliser is always better than too much.
Harvesting Rosemary –
Snip Rosemary often throughout the season. For optimal flavour and aroma, plan to cut your rosemary plant during the early morning hours. The essential oil concentration in the foliage is at its highest during this time. To collect, snip off new growth. Rosemary will grow back fairly quickly.
Uses of Rosemary in cooking (inspired by wikiHow) –
Rosemary is a favourite herb that originated in the Mediterranean and is regularly used in Italian and French cuisine. The flavour is spicy and warm and is often paired with fatty meats like lamb, sour lemons, and even sweet dishes. The key to using rosemary in cooking is to chop it finely because the needles can be tough otherwise.
Cook it with fish and meats. You can add rosemary to any meat, including chicken, lamb, fish, shellfish, turkey, pork, and beef. You can stuff meat with whole rosemary sprigs, roast meat with sprigs, or use finely chopped rosemary to add flavour.
To make an all-purpose rub for any grilled, sautéed, stir-fried, roasted, or broiled meat, combine:
- 1 tablespoon (7 g) ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon (19 g) salt
- 3 tablespoons (9 g) chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tablespoon (3 g) dried rosemary
- 8 cloves garlic, diced
Add it to cheesy dishes. Cheese and rosemary go together like peas in a pod, and there are many ways that you can spice up cheese-based meals with this herb. Add rosemary to various dishes by sprinkling the finished product with 1 to 3 teaspoons (1 to 3 g) of the freshly chopped herb.
Good pairings include:
- Macaroni and cheese
- Homemade baked cheese sticks
- Mozzarella sticks
- Cheese sandwiches
- Cheese fondue
Take your potato wedges to the next level. Arguably one of the most common foods and herb pairings is potatoes and rosemary. You can add rosemary to any spud, including roasted potatoes, mashed potatoes, or even sprinkled on scalloped potatoes.
To make rosemary fries or wedges:
- Wash and scrub three potatoes
- Cut the spuds into wedges or chips
- Season the potatoes with two tablespoons (30 ml) of oil, salt and pepper
- Bake the wedges in an oven at 250 C for 30 to 35 minutes, flipping twice during the cooking time
- Season with chopped rosemary, minced garlic, and additional salt and pepper
Make tea. Rosemary tea is a warming and delicious drink that you can make with just two simple ingredients: water and rosemary. Boil some water and place a sprig of fresh rosemary into a teapot and fill with boiling water. Let the tea steep for three to five minutes.
- You can also add a wedge of lemon to the tea as well.
- You can also transfer room-temperature rosemary tea to an airtight container and chill it in the refrigerator to enjoy it cold. Remove the rosemary before storing, and drink the tea within a few days of brewing.
Make rosemary butter. Herbed butter is a delightful way to enjoy fresh herbs and spices, and you can make your rosemary butter for a variety of uses. Some of the best ways to use rosemary butter include:
- Spreading it on toast
- As a sauce for grilled fish or meat
- On baked or roasted potatoes
- Melted in with hot rice, pasta, or vegetables
Make rosemary salt. Rosemary salt is excellent for adding extra flavour to any dish. To make the rosemary salt, combine ¼ cup (75 g) of coarse salt and one teaspoon (1 g) of dried rosemary in a food processor. Pulse the mixture to mix the salt and rosemary thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and let it rest for a day.
- Use rosemary salt instead of regular salt to season any foods, such as soups, stews, salads, meats, vegetables, popcorn, and more.
- For best results, use the salt within a year.
- You can also add lemon, lime, or orange zest to the salt as well.