The Herb Rosemary
I am lucky enough to live in the ‘campo’ – the countryside of Spain – overlooking a small village. My villa is surrounded by uncultivated land, thickets of pine, and because we are on the foothills of the sierras, rocky outcrops. In summer, especially if there is a gentle breeze, the air is filled with the scent of pine, jasmine and wild herbs. Amongst this heady mixture can be detected the unmistakeable fragrance of rosemary.
Rosemary is a distinctive herb with an immediately identifiable aroma that has made it fashionable in food preparation and medicines for many centuries.
Nowadays rosemary is perhaps best recognized as a culinary herb. It is commonly used to give flavour to roast meats such as lamb and pork – and to add taste and fragrance to herb-oils and vinegars.
The Herb Rosemary can grow into a substantial bush that is smothered with leaves.
The Rosemary leaves when crushed, liberate volatile oils and aroma.
The Herb Rosemary has many varieties, with flowers that can vary from white, to pink, to blue.
The Herb Rosemary is fast growing, and its height and density make it useful it as a garden hedge. Four hundred years ago, rosemary was used for just this purpose, often trimmed into fanciful shapes.
The Herb Rosemary was popular at weddings, used to deck the church and make bridal wreaths.
The Herb Rosemary and Folk Remedies –
The chronicles of the herbrosemary are heavy with folklore, going back even to Biblical times. The majority of the stories relate to rosemary’s aromatic assets. Its perfume was thought to protect against disease and was often used to ‘disinfect’ the air in sick rooms. Rosemary sprigs were carried during plagues, to be inhaled whilst passing regions of possible infection. In ancient times, scholars wore garlands of rosemary believing it to be an aid to memory. The plant also came to be linked to fidelity.
Culinary Uses of The Herb Rosemary –
Use fresh, dried leaves or sprigs of the herb rosemary to give flavour to meat while roasting.
Use fresh sprigs of the herb rosemary to flavour herb-oils and vinegars.
Add fresh leaves of the herb rosemary sparingly to make herb butter.
Fresh rosemary herb is a wonderful addition to salads.
The herb rosemary is a major component in the classic mix of dried Provencal herbs known as Herbs De Provence.
Burn branches of the herb rosemary on a barbecue to add a subtle flavour to meats.
Cosmetic Uses of Rosemary –
Use the essential oil from the herb rosemary in eau-de-cologne.
Use fresh or dried rosemary leaves in a facial steam to encourage circulation,
Infuse leaves of the herb rosemary as a conditioning rinse for dark hair.
Medicinal Uses of Rosemary –
Rosemary tea – the infusion is a first-rate all-round tonic.
Rosemary tea stimulates the circulation, and has been used as a remedy for hardening of the arteries.
Rosemary tea can lift mild depression and is good for treating headaches and migraines.
Household Uses of Rosemary –
Use fresh sprigs of the herb rosemary to add fragrance to a room and deter insects.
Lay sprigs of the herb rosemary in the bottom of wardrobes to repel moths.
Preserving – Dry the sprigs and branches and strip the leaves off before storing. Crush the rosemary leaves just before use to release the aroma.
Cultivation of Rosemary –
Lifespan – Rosemary is a hardy evergreen shrub
Site – Plant rosemary in dry, sunny sites protected from cold wind.
Rosemary can be transplanted and kept indoors during a frosty winter.
Soil – Rosemary needs good drainage. It is more fragrant when grown in limy soil. You can add crushed lime or eggshells to the soil. Can be container-grown indoors or out.
Growing – Propagate from cuttings and transplant when established.
Harvesting – Rosemary leaves can be harvested in small amounts all year but are best before flowering times.
Written by ajbarnett
Novelist, short story writer, Author of JUST ABOUT WRITE and WITHOUT REPROACH. A Brit now living in Spain