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Rosemary

Rosemary
Rosemary, a fragrant, aromatic and hardy herb

Rosemary originally comes from areas such as Turkey and Southern Europe. Rosemary is an attractive evergreen shrub-type herb with pine needle-like leaves. It has trusses of blue flowers that last through spring and summer in a warm, humid environment. All Rosemary varieties will do great in a sunny position, whether grown in a container or in garden soil. It is essential to cut back the Rosemary herb plant in spring after it has flowered. You may pick the fresh leaves all year round as the Rosemary is an evergreen shrub. There is no need to store Rosemary if you have a bush that is established in your herb garden. Rosemary is used as a culinary herb to flavor roast lamb and meat dishes. Some people claim that Rosemary also improves blood supply to the head which means that Rosemary also makes for an excellent medicinal herb.

To propagate rosemary from an established plant is quite easy. All that is required is to pin down with wire onto the soil a piece of the rosemary stem of the mother-plant. This stem can be bent down when pinning down the part that you want to propagate. As soon as roots develop on the pinned down part you may separate it from the mother-plant.

Rosemary is a very hardy herb and can tolerate drought. Rosemary makes for an attractive plant in any type of garden, not only herb gardens. Some varieties can grow much taller than 1 m (3.28 ft) in height and more than 1 m (3.28 ft) in width. When growing Rosemary herbs in containers, Rosemary also makes a great companion plant for feverfew. In early spring it is advisable to apply some enriched organic fertilizer to the Rosemary herb plant. It is best to use a tablespoon worth of fertilizer per square meter (10.76 ft2).

The leaves of this fragrant, aromatic herb can be harvested any time. Harvest no more than you can use fresh, as they lose most of their flavor when dried. The following is more details regarding the Rosemary varieties that can be cultivated in a herb garden.

Rosemary Blueboy

This herb is also known as Rosmarinus officinalis prostatus. This beautiful herb is a tender perennial herb that is able to withstand drought as well as poor, rocky soil. It boasts beautiful blue flowers (though the flowers are small) with wonderfully fragrant resinous green foliage which are lance-shaped. The Rosemary Blueboy flowers grow in clusters from the leaf axils. For the gardener who is pressed for space the Rosemary Blueboy is an excellent choice since it lends itself favorably to Bonsai.

Rosemary Spreading

This herb is also known as Rosmarinus prostata. Like most herbs the Rosmarinus prostata prefers a sunny position and will thrive in well-drained soil. This particular herb is a perennial herb and is known to grow to a height of approximately 30 cm (11.81") and should preferably be spaced 60 cm (23.62") apart. This rosemary herb boasts fine leaves with bright blue flowers. These leaves can be used fresh or dry. However do use it sparingly when preparing your meat dishes. Herb gardening with this particular Rosemary is also catering for bees. The rosemary flowers will attract bees from far and wide to visit your garden. As a culinary herb the fresh rosemary flowers can be used in salads as a garnish. As a cosmetic herb the rosemary leaves can be used as an ingredient in potpourri. You could even use the rosemary sprigs amongst your linen. You will end up with the freshest smelling linens ever.

Rosemary Upright and the Rosemary Semi Upright

These two herbs are also known as Rosmarinus officinalis and Rosmarinus officinalis sp. respectively. Both are perennial herbs and will thrive in sunny spots with well-drained soil. The Rosemary Upright as well as the Semi Upright will grow to a height of between 75 and 150 cm (29.52 and 58.98"). It is usually best to space the rosemary plants 60 to 90 cm (23.62 to 35.43") apart. Wildlife such as bees will travel from far away to visit your herb garden if you grow these rosemary shrubs. The bluish flowers of the Rosemary will surely attract the bees. This evergreen upright growing herb is cultivated mainly for its rich, aromatic leaves which can be used in either a dried form or fresh. It is essential to prune Rosemary on a regular basis. (Tip: The pruned Rosemary need not be discarded – burn them on your fire or barbeque and prepare yourself for a lovely aroma.) The Rosemary leaves can be used as potpourri and the sprigs can be laid amongst linen where it will import a wonderful fragrance to your linens.

How to use Rosemary

Culinary Uses

  • Making use of Rosemary as a culinary herb with roast mutton is simply divine. Use a few Rosemary springs taken from the tips and place them on a leg of lamb.
  • Rosemary also goes well with chicken dishes, tomato soup as well as on potatoes.
  • Herbal vinegar and marinades can also be made with Rosemary. This marinade is excellent with fish.
  • Make use of Rosemary flowers as garnishing in your salads.

Medicinal Uses

  • Suffering indigestion or muscular pain – you can use Rosemary as a medicinal herb to relieve the symptoms. Wine made with Rosemary will also strengthen the heart (So some herbalists claim). This Rosemary wine can be made using about 50 g (0.11 lb) Rosemary leaves in a good quality white wine. Allow the wine and Rosemary leaves to steep for approximately three days. Drink a glass of Rosemary wine everyday to keep the muscles supple.
  • Blood circulation problems – run a bath with some sprigs of Rosemary under the tap. Taking such a herbal bath will stimulate blood circulation.
  • It is also claimed that the scent of rosemary is an effective memory stimulant.
  • Rosemary makes a pleasant-tasting tea. Use one teaspoon of crushed dried leaves in a cup of boiling water and steep for ten minutes.
  • The tea made from the Rosemary leaves is also taken as a tonic for calming nerves and used as an antiseptic.

Cosmetic Uses

  • Suffering hair loss – in this case you need to make use of Rosemary as a cosmetic herb, combined with another herb to treat symptoms of hair loss. You should make a Southernwood and Rosemary infusion. You can infuse the two herbs and combine in equal parts. This infusion should be rubbed into scalp, and it will stimulate circulation thus encouraging healthy hair growth.
  • Use an infusion as a rinse to lighten blond hair, and to condition and tone all hair. Try mixing an infusion half and half with shampoo to strengthen hair.
  • An infusion can also be used as an invigorating toner and astringent. Rosemary added to a bath strengthens and refreshes, especially when used following an illness.

Other Uses

  • Rosemary leaves can be used as potpourri to freshen the air. Use the dried leaves as potpourri and in sachets to scent clothes and linen and deter moths.
  • Lay Rosemary sprigs amongst your linen where it will impart a wonderful fragrance to your linens.
  • Burn Rosemary twigs after it has been pruned in your fireplace or on you barbeque.
  • Rosemary is grown as a companion plant for cabbage, beans carrots and sage. It helps to deter cabbage moths, bean beetles and carrot flies.

For the cook

Italian Potatoes with Onion and Rosemary (4 Servings)

Slice the potatoes for this crisp pancake as thin as possible, and don't worry if they break up as you slice. Cook the Potato "pancake" on both sides until it is browned and crusty as you prefer on both sides without getting burned.

If the idea of flipping the whole pancake at once seems a bit daunting or if you feel that you might not be dexterous enough, quarter it in the skillet and turn each quarter individually with a spatula.

Ingredients
  • About 1 kg (2 1/4 pounds) baking potatoes (about 4 potatoes), the potatoes should be scrubbed, peeled, and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 285 g (10 ounces) yellow onion (about 1 large onion), peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • About 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Directions
  • Cook the potatoes in a microwave oven at full power for 7 to 8 minutes, until fork-tender. (Alternatively you can also oil the potatoes for 30 to 35 minutes in 4 cups of water to which 2 teaspoons of salt have been added.) Set the potatoes aside until cool enough to handle.
  • Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat.
  • In the hot skillet, combine the onion, garlic, and wine.
  • Stir to combine thoroughly and cook for about 15 minutes, until the onion is very soft.
  • Add the potatoes, parsley, and rosemary.
  • Mix well and mash with the back of a wooden spoon to form a large pancake.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Raise the heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes, until the potatoes are browned and somewhat crusty underneath.
  • Position a plate upside down over the pan, flip the pancake out onto the plate so that the cooked side is up, and then slide it back into the pan.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes more, until the second side is crusty.

This dish is truly a low fat dish and contains a mere 0.44 g (0.002 lb) of fat per serving which translates to 327.5 calories per serving.

A cautionary note when using Rosemary: Rosemary oil, even small doses can cause stomach, kidney and intestinal problems, and large amounts may be poisonous. Use a tea instead. Pregnant women should NOT use the herb as a medicinal herb, although it's okay to use it as a seasoning as a culinary herb. Do not use large amounts of Rosemary. When used in large amounts it can have the opposite effect, causing irritation of the intestines and cramps.
NOTE: Be careful of the powerful effects of herbs. Use herbs in small doses and stop taking them if you feel side effects. Consult your doctor before taking herbs if you are unsure about their effects.