Growing rosemary at home takes a bit of work to get started, but this beautiful evergreen will provide years of value.
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It’s a versatile, fragrant culinary herb native to the Mediterranean region, and you’ll find plenty of uses for it.
This is one of the most popular herbs in many kitchens. The pungent, pine-like flavour adds a distinctive note to plenty of meat dishes.
Growing, Harvesting, Preserving, and Using Rosemary
This is an herb that is as visually appealing as it is delicious.
Its woody stems allow it to be pruned into a conical Christmas tree-like shape that lends a more formal element to an otherwise unstructured, free-flowing herb garden. In cooler areas, it makes a beautiful addition to a sunny windowsill in winter.
Growing Rosemary Outdoors
Rosemary is a member of the mint family, along with basil, oregano, thyme and many others.
Its ideal growing environment is similar to other members of this botanical family: It prefers a warm, sunny spot in well-drained soil.
This woody-stemmed plant can grow into a large evergreen shrub in hot climates, but it is not hardy in colder areas. To survive, it needs to be brought inside when temperatures drop below freezing.
Because it needs to come inside during cold weather, rosemary is a great option for an indoor herb garden. One little pot on your windowsill is enough for a normal household.
But be aware that, while rosemary is easy to grow, it’s not easy to germinate.
Seeds rarely breed true to the parent plant and young plants grow very slowly. For this reason, it’s best to start with a cutting from someone else’s mature plant.
You need about 2″ of fresh new growth from a healthy rosemary plant. Remove leaves from the lower half and dip it in growth hormone, then place it in damp potting soil. Keep your little cutting in indirect sunlight and mist it with water daily. It should take 2-3 weeks for enough roots to develop so that, when tugged on, the cutting pulls on the soil. At that point, you can repot it in little 3″ pots and set it outside.
Rosemary likes to be a bit dry, so terra cotta pots are great.
Keep in mind that it is very easy to grow and seems to thrive on neglect! It needs sun, good drainage, and good air circulation.
Growing Rosemary Indoors
Your rosemary should get 6-8 hours of good sunlight each day to thrive indoors.
A south-facing window usually provides enough sunlight. It needs a good amount of watering, but it can drown easily, so be careful not to water it too much. Also have excellent drainage – rosemary dislikes having soggy feet.
To harvest, simply clip fresh sprigs as needed from your plants.
They will keep in your refrigerator for about a week if you take more than you need.
For larger harvests, the herb can be frozen alone or in ice cube trays with water or oil.
It can also be dried or preserved in olive oil or vinegar for later use.
Yet another option is to finely chop the leaves to make a delightful herb butter or seasoned salt mix.
Cooking with Rosemary
Once you start growing this herb, you’ll find there are so many wonderful ways to use it to enhance your recipes.
For starters, it is wonderful in marinades for meats and chicken. Strip the leaves from the woody stems and crush them with your fingers to release the oils. Combine Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, garlic and crushed rosemary to make a wonderful marinade for steaks.
It’s easy to learn how to cook a steak so that it’s tender and delicious after marinating.
You can also stuff chicken or other poultry with whole fresh sprigs, lemon wedges and cloves of garlic.
Finely chopped leaves are a delicious addition to soups, stews and salad dressings.
What can you make with Rosemary?
- Apple and Rosemary Stuffed Pork Chops
- White Bean Soup with Kale and Dried Mushrooms
- 25 Minute Beef Stew from Food Storage
Originally posted 2017-10-05 16:31:50.0