If you hear crickets and cicadas singing and see pine trees and the sea, be sure that not be far away you will find the Rosemary plant!
For me, it is like Proust’s madeleine; its fragrance inspires me. It reminds me of the Mediterranean landscapes, the food of my homeland Italy, and family gatherings.
It is absolutely a must-have ingredient in my kitchen, as in Mediterranean cuisine. For this, I have two huge plants in my garden, producing new leaves from early spring to the end of summer. What I do to have it available all year long is that during summer, I dry a few sprigs and put them in glass jars.
In this post, I will show you how rosemary is an amazing herb. I’m sure that by the end of this post, you will want to grow some in your garden or balcony.
Get to know rosemary
Rosemary is a perennial, evergreen bush. It has a woody stem and aromatic foliage with needle-like leaves.
As its name suggests, it is native to the coastal regions. In fact, the name Rosemary probably comes from the Latin “Ros marinus,” meaning « dew of the sea. ».
It’s native to the coastal areas of the Mediterranean regions. Ancient Greeks and Romans appreciated it for its fragrance and its curative properties.
Like sage, basil, and mint, it belongs to the botanic family of the Lamiaceae.
During the growing season, many tiny pink, purple, or blue flowers transform into a beautiful shrubs. Bees, bumblebees, and other pollinators flying around it in search of its aromatic nectar. They really seem to like it since they spend a lot of time on each flower.
The flowers have the classic shape of the Lamiaceae flower, bilaterally symmetrical, with five petals and five sepals.
As you can see in the picture below, a few weeks after fertilization, a seed appears inside what used to be the flower.
Benefits and uses
You can enjoy rosemary in three main ways: as a culinary herb, as a medicinal herb, and as a decorative plant in the garden.
As a cooking herb, it adds flavor to meat and plant-based dishes, often associated with other herbs like thyme and bay laurel. For example, you can use rosemary leaves to barbecue meat and baked root vegetables like potatoes.
Not only does it flavor your dishes, but it also helps reduce the formation of acrylamide, a toxic substance formed when you bake high-starch vegetables like potatoes. Well, to prevent the formation of it, add some sprigs to your frying oil or backing vegetables.
As a medicinal plant, it stimulates circulation, the nervous system, and digestion. Its essential oil is antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. Also, traditional medicine uses rosemary remedies to soothe rheumatism.
In the garden, it attracts bees, bumblebees, and other pollinators.
So, now you know it: rosemary is absolutely a valuable plant to grow in your garden.
How to grow it
Rosemary loves light, well-drained soils with proper sun exposure. Plant it in a place protected from the winter winds. Also, you can easily multiply it by summer cuttings.
To have it on hand year-round, dry a few sprigs in the summer and store them in a glass jar. You can also do as in France, make bouquets with thyme, bouquets garni. They are used to give flavor to ratatouille and many other dishes.
When you bake potatoes, add a few sprigs of rosemary. This will help prevent the formation of acrylamide, a toxic substance that forms when frying or baking starchy food.
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