When folks think of herbs, Rosemary is always one that comes to mind. We have sold a lot of rosemary which always surprises me given the fact that once Rosemary is established it grows quickly and makes a rather large shrub. It would seem that one plant would be all a person needed in a decade. But, with its lovely evergreen foliage, fabulous scent, and many uses Rosemary is one that people just can’t pass up.
But, I have confession to make about Rosemary. I don’t really like the taste of it in my food. Yes, there you have it, an herb farmer that doesn’t like to cook with Rosemary. The flavor is growing on me as I have been experimenting with different flavor combinations. I am also finding that with Rosemary being such a strong scented/flavored herb that you only need just a dash of it in a dish. That may be part of the reason that my first excursions into the world of cooking with Rosemary were disappointing- I treated it like thyme or parsley and used way too much. I am finding that just a smattering of dried Rosemary on oven roasted sweet potato fries or home-fries made with regular spuds it very tasty. Most have eaten rosemary in some form and the culinary uses are the uses most thought of in considering this lovely shrub.
Rosemary is a great plant for landscaping- it can be used as a hedge. . But for the herbal medicine cabinet, Rosemary is an essential herb to grow. Thankfully, in most areas of Texas, Rosemary thrives as our winters are mild and drought and poor soil are not of much concern to an established plant.
Health Benefits of Rosemary:
A rich source of calcium, Iron and dietary fiber, Rosemary is a powerful addition to the diet.
Rosemary is used to stimulate the mind and in stimulating the brain, clarity is achieved. This benefit of Rosemary is what lead the ancient cultures to believe that Rosemary was for remembrance and those in higher learning would wear wreaths of rosemary on their heads to help them remember all the information they were learning. Now wearing the sprigs on your head my not have helped (except for the aromatherapy) but studies have now proven that the oils from rosemary do stimulate the brain.
Improving digestion – In Europe rosemary is often used to help treat indigestion – Germany’s Commission E has approved it for the treatment of dyspepsia. However, it should be noted that there is currently no meaningful scientific evidence to support this claim.
Enhancing memory and concentration – blood levels of a rosemary oil component correlate with improved cognitive performance, according to research in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, published by SAGE.
Protection against macular degeneration – a study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, led by Stuart A. Lipton, M.D., Ph.D. and colleagues at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, revealed that a major component of rosemary, carnosic acid, can significantly promote eye health.
The rosemary plant that I take most of my cuttings from was planted the summer before the record drought of 2011. During that drought I could not water all my property and the bed containing the rosemary was one that received no extra water for two months. To my amazement, that plant doubled in size- despite temps that never came out of the 100’s, no rain, and winds that felt so hot you would have thought that they were blowing straight from the pit of hell. Rosemary moved up my list of plants I love just because of that summer. Then I began to learn of all the benefits Rosemary has and I would never have an herb garden without at least one plant.
A couple of weeks ago I pruned the plant pretty heavy needing cuttings for propagation. From the cuttings, I filled 10 flats containing 20 cups each- that is 200 new plants, provided all the cuttings root and prosper. I am pretty confident they will, Rosemary roots like a dream. Rosemary officinallis is the strain of this rosemary- just the original “plain Jane”. I know there are a lot of more fancy cultivars out there, but this one has proven itself in our climate unlike several other varieties that I have planted. Therefore, this is my go-to plant. I want folks to succeed when they take plants home from Hollyberry Herb Farm so I am sticking to what works. I do have an “Arp” variety that is so far doing well and we will see, if it is still going strong next summer I will add that to my favorites list.
So, if you haven’t already, plant some rosemary! You will be glad you did.
Do you cook with rosemary? If so , how do you use it?