Beautiful for its smell and also appearance, rosemary is just as popular in recipes as it is outside them.
What is Rosemary?
With the official name of Rosmarinus officinalis, rosemary is technically an herb bush. It grows fragrant, needle leaves much like a pine tree. If left to grow, it also blooms flowers, but most home gardeners use it way too much to get to that point.
You can also use dried rosemary in whole leaves or ground. Dried herbs start to lose flavor potency at around 6 months.
It is native to the Mediterranean, which is why you’ll see it so much in Italian and Greek cuisine.
History of Rosemary
Rosemary has deep roots, both literally and figuratively. It has been mentioned in the Bible and even before, known as the “rose of Mary”.
In historic times it was used more for medicinal purposes than culinary. It has been linked to improved digestion, circulation and memory as well as decreased inflammation. It is also loaded up with antioxidants.
Rosemary is used in many global cuisines in many different ways. Since the needles are a little chewy, it is best finely chopped or cooked and softened. It is common in soups, marinades, dressing and anything around holiday time. Its fresh aromatic smell is welcoming.
It is also common to infuse rosemary into butter and oil.
Whole sprigs can be used to flavor sauces and braises and then removed before serving.
Rosemary is also an excellent and inexpensive way to garnish and decorate platters and dishes
Buying & Storage
Look for vibrant green leaves that are plump, not brown or wilted. It will be fragrant and woody.
Always rinse with cold water before using. Pat dry for maximum life.
Store in a plastic bag with a damp (not wet) paper towel. It will last up to 1 week, depending on the age and health when it was purchased.