Saturday, November 11, 2017

Rosemary - Herb of Remembrance (with recipes)

The Essential Herbal Magazine Jul/Aug '11

    Legends concerning rosemary abound!  Do you suppose that rosemary can really help us remember things?  In ancient Greece, students did believe this and wore garlands of rosemary on their heads while studying for exams.  It was also believed that if a young lady placed her shoes on either side of her bed, put a sprig of rosemary in one and thyme in the other, then sleeping on her back, she would dream of the man she would marry.

   "Where rosemary flourishes, the woman rules!"  It is easy to imagine struggling rosemary plants being lovingly nurtured by the lady of that house, but not so readily nurtured by her husband!
   Rosemary is a tender perennial in most regions, and must therefore be grown as a container plant or dug from the garden in fall and wintered over indoors.  Rosemary is best started from cuttings of well-established plants.  Seeds take at least 3 weeks to germinate, and will not produce as strong a plant.  If you do decide to plant rosemary in the garden for the summer, place it in a sunny location, in well-drained soil.  In container or garden, rosemary does not like to have its' feet wet, so good drainage is important.  Interestingly, rosemary in a pot cannot be allowed to dry out, either.  A quote says "a dry rosemary is a dead rosemary".....so keep your potted plants watered, and mist regularly.  Choose one of the prostrate varieties for potted plants.  They make an impressive and lovely hanging basket.

   Rosemary has many uses...culinary, decorative, cosmetic, and was used as a medicinal herb in ages past.  A mixture of rosemary and juniper berries was burned in hospitals in France during World War II to kill germs, and research has shown that rosemary oil does have some antibacterial properties.
   As a culinary herb, rosemary goes well with pork and chicken, and enhances potato recipes as well as other vegetables.  When cooking a port roast, place several sprigs of fresh rosemary over the top, sprinkle with garlic powder, and wrap in foil.  Place this on the grill and cook according to per pound times.  The rosemary permeates the meat and gives it a different and delicious flavor!  In England, rosemary was always used to adorn the Christmas roast, usually boar.

   Rosemary has long been used in decorating for special occasions.  Rosemary symbolizes remembrance and love, is special to the bride, and is always part of the herbal wedding.  It was used in Medieval England to decorate the church and home during Christmastime.  Rosemary is a favorite for those who like to create topiaries.
   As a cosmetic herb, rosemary is used as a hair rinse for brunettes.  For use in the bath, rosemary is stimulating.  You can make an herbal water by adding a few drops of rosemary essential oil to a pint of water.  Store in the refrigerator, and add a small amount of the mixture to the bath.  Rosemary bath oil can be made by adding rosemary essential oil to sweet almond, jojoba or castor oil.  It is best to use one of these carrier oils, since essential oils, used alone, are very concentrated.

   Every herb lover and gardener should have at least one rosemary plant growing in the garden, on the patio, or on the windowsill.  It is a lovely and intriguing herb!
Potatoes with Rosemary and Cheese
4 medium-sized potatoes, unpeeled and cut into thick slices
2 tsp. olive or vegetable oil
2 tsp. dried rosemary leaves, crumbled
1/2 tsp. paprika
3/4 cup shredded sharp or medium cheddar
   (or Monterey Jack jalapeno adds a zing)

   Place potatoes in a shallow 1-1/2 quart baking dish.  Sprinkle with oil and seasonings; stir to coat.  Cover with waxed paper and microwave on high 10-12 minutes, stirring twice until potatoes are tender.  Sprinkle with cheese; cover and let stand for 5 minutes, until cheese melts.  Makes 4 servings.

Rosemary Butter
   To 1 stick of unsalted (sweet) softened butter, add 1-1/2 tsp. dried rosemary which has been crushed to release the flavor.  Mix well.  Refrigerate overnight.  Use on baked potatoes, rub on chicken before grilling, or as a spread for rolls or bread.

Rosemary Jelly
4 cups bottled white grape juice
1 cup water
3 cups sugar
5-6 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves, chopped and bruised
1 box Sure-Jell Light fruit pectin

   Pour juice and water into a heavy 6-8 quart saucepot.  Add the rosemary.
   Measure the sugar and set aside.  Mix 1/4 cup sugar with contents of the box of pectin.  Stir this into juice in saucepot.  Pot should be not more than 1/3 full.
   Bring juice to a full boil over high heat, stirring constantly.  Stir in remaining sugar.  Continue to stir and bring to a full rolling boil.  Boil hard for 1 minute, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Quickly skim foam with a metal spoon.  Ladle into sterilized jars.  Seal and process in hot water bath for 5 minutes.
   Yield: 6 half pints.

Mary Ellen Wilcox
SouthRidge Treasures
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