2.14 Rosemary.

Botanical name: 

Photo: Rosmarinus officinalis 4. Latin name: Rosmarinus officinalis.

2.14.1 Growing Rosemary

By jrogow.owens.ridgecrest.ca.us (Judith Rogow)
This is an herb you can literally kill with kindness! Rosemary will die if you fertilize her, or water her too much, or plant her in too-rich earth. Benign neglect will result in big healthy plants. There are two basic types of Rosemary, the trailing or prostrate type, and a bush type that will, in time, become large enough to be considered a shrub. These plants have been used in England in mazes, and in the USA as landscape plantings. Prostrate Rosemary is an excellent ground cover.

Rosemary comes in various shades of blue-lavender, and there is a pink version that is a magnet for bees (as is the blue). The leaves are like miniature pine needles, in a lovely blue-green colour.

Rosmarinus, the herb's Latin name, means "sea spray", and the plant grows especially well near the ocean.

2.14.2 Harvesting Rosemary

By jrogow.ridgecrest.ca.us (Judith Rogow):
I cut my rosemary back all summer and dry it hung in a closet. This perfumes my hanging clothing, and keeps it from sunburn.

2.14.3 Using / Preserving Rosemary

By jrogow.ridgecrest.ca.us (Judith Rogow):
I use it for poultry stuffing, and as a tea to soothe stress. Also, the tea is a wonderful hair rinse for red heads and brunettes. I also use the tea in a bath when I ache all over from too much gardening.

Rosemary may be dried by hanging sprigs in a warm place, then stripping the leaves and keeping them in a jar or plastic bag. Uses of this versatile herb include teas (infusions of the leaves) that make soothing tisanes, enhancing hair rinses, and lovely fragrant soaking baths.

Leaves are used in cooking and for scented oils, the flowers are often added to a bride's headdress to insure fidelity.

Rosemary is considered an excellent tonic for headaches, and stomachs. It is also a traditional memory sharpener. Shakespeare said in Hamlet . . . "There's Rosemary, that's for remembrance." Mourners in many countries drop sprays of Rosemary in the coffin of a loved one as a pledge not to forget the person.


From: jrogow.owens.ridgecrest.ca.us (Judith Rogow)

1) A decoction for the bath

Steep several handful of Rosemary (fresh or dried) in water for an hour at simmer. Cool and bottle. Add to bath for soothing and scent.

2) Rosemary Water

4 tbs. Rosemary Flowers
1 Nutmeg, grated
2 tbs. Cinnamon, grated
1 QT alcohol spirit (Vodka works well)
Pour liquid over herbs in a clean jar - stand in warm dark place for two weeks. Strain through cheesecloth or paper coffee strainer. Use as you would witch hazel, to soothe aches.

3) Rosemary Wine

1 bottle of white wine
1 handful fresh rosemary (or 2 tbs. dried)
2 tbs. dried Borage leaves
Steep herbs in wine a week or more, strain as in #2. This is an excellent nerve tonic.

4) Insect repellent candle

Crumble dried Sage and Rosemary leaves, mix with melted wax, form into candle (an easy way to do this if you don't have candle molds is to put a votive candle in a bowl, pour warm herb-wax in the bowl a bit at a time, and let harden) and use to keep bugs away.

Nick thinks rosemary and roast pork were made for each other. Here's his recipe for

Rosemary Roast Pork

For a robust, in-yer-face Rosemary Roast Pork that makes the whole house smell divine:

rolled, boned, tied leg of pork
depending on size of above, more or less of the following:-

about a cup of fresh rosemary leaves
untold garlic - well at least 4 fat cloves
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper (don't go mad, it's rosemary pork not peppered pork)
olive oil

Several hours before you plan to cook the meal:
Coarsely chop the rosemary leaves, then put them into a good sized mortar. Add the garlic and lovingly smash the hell out of it all. Slosh in some extra virgin olive oil, (the greener and thicker and more peppery the better) and sprinkle in some sea salt (no additives allowed! check the packet!). Continue to work it until you end up with a coarse green viscous paste. The smell is fantastic - watch out for uncontrolled salivation.

Untie the joint, open it out. Trim off the rind and most of the fat (the crackling needs to be cooked separately if you want it) and smother the joint thickly with the paste. Really lather it in. Roll it back up, retie it (or slip the elastic-string net back on) and leave it somewhere cool, the longer the better.

Wipe the mortar out with a hunk of warm ciabbata bread and scarf it down.

Roast the joint as usual. The rosemary and garlic on the outside of the meat will be dark and almost burnt - inside it will be green and fragrant.

Uncork something gutsy and prepare for paradise on a plate.


From: Ron Lunde <ronl.teleport.com>
Here's my recipe for Rosemary bread that never fails. (I use fresh rosemary, from the planter on the side of my house, next to the grape vine. Both the rosemary and the grape vine are trying to take over the universe. I'm waiting to see which wins.)

Rosemary Bread

(Popular for centuries, as legend goes, particularly in southern Europe)

1 package dry yeast, not too far past the expiration date
1 cup warm water (I stick my finger in it, and it feels "slightly warm")
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves (or dried, I guess)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 & 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Olive oil to grease bowl and baking sheet
1 beaten egg

Fling yeast in water, add sugar. Let stand until foamy. If it isn't foamy, try again. Should take 5-10 minutes.

Add rosemary, salt, whole wheat flour, and about a cup of the regular flour. Stir with a wooden spoon until it's all a big lump, with kinda stretchy qualities around the edges. Add remaining flour, and turn it into an even bigger lump. Turn it out onto a floured surface (not a cat -- cat's tend to resent that), and knead it far longer than you
actually want to, or about 8 minutes.

Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for an hour or so in an oiled bowl, until it's doubled in volume.

Punch down, knead briefly (get rid of air pockets). Shape into a ball, and scrunch it around so that the top surface is reasonably smooth.

Put it on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush loaf with oil. Let rise for 45 minutes or so, until it's doubled.

Brush it with the egg. If you're feeling traditional, cut an 'X' in the top with a very sharp knife.

Bake at 375 degrees (Fahrenheit -- we're not doing plasma physics, we're baking bread) until the top is brownish, and you can get a nice hollow sound when you tap the bottom. That should be 45 minutes, or so. Cool on a rack. Eat.

It's low fat, high fiber/protein/taste. I like it.