A native of the Mediterranean region, rosemary (meaning ‘dew of the sea’) is one of the most aromatic and pungent herbs around. With such an incredible fragrance and flavor, it’s easy to see why so many people cultivate rosemary in their homes and gardens.
Here’s all you need to know about harvesting and using rosemary for culinary and medicinal purposes.
13 Unusual Ways to Use Rosemary:
As a Food
1. Vinegars and Oils
One of the easiest ways of preserving the flavors of rosemary is by making a simple vinegar or oil infusion. Best of all, you don’t need any specialized equipment!
This delicious oregano, rosemary and marjoram vinegar is perfect for use in salad dressings, marinades and other recipes requiring vinegar. Likewise, a simple rosemary olive oil can be used for all these recipes and more – including as a healthy drizzle over cooked vegetables or as a dipping sauce for crusty breads. Both these infusions also make a beautiful homemade gift for friends and family.
2. Rosemary Salt
A simple grilled fish dish or plate of roast vegetables can be elevated to new heights with a sprinkling of this surprisingly easy-to-make rosemary and lemon sea salt. As the name suggests, this ‘recipe’ calls for just three ingredients!
3 . Sauces and Soups
Rosemary plays a starring role in all manner of sauces and soups. When it comes to making marinades, you can’t go wrong pairing rosemary with citrus, garlic, peppercorn, butter, olive oil, balsamic vinegar or even port.
In soups, the herb pairs well with sweet potato, roast mixed vegetables, chicken, potato, zucchini, chickpea or parsnip to name but a few.
4. Salads and Salad Dressings
Rosemary isn’t a classic salad herb but it works wonders in a number of refreshing summer dishes.
Give it a go in a simple heirloom tomato salad; in an Italian potato salad with lemon and capers; or atop grapes and feta cheese! Other impressive salad recipes which utilize rosemary vinaigrette include this one made with roasted butternut squash and tangerines, or this grilled peach delight.
5 . Breads and Pastas
Plain pasta and bread can easily be dressed up with the addition of rosemary oil or vinegar, but don’t stop at serving the herb on your bread or pasta – mix it into the dough of these delicious staples too.
Sticking with its Mediterranean roots, we especially like a good rosemary focaccia bread or a rosemary and black pepper fettucine.
6 . Drinks
From simple detox water to delicious cocktails, rosemary gives an added kick to your favorite tipples.
Stay hydrated all summer long with a grapefruit and rosemary infused water or a sparkling rosemary limeade. Sweet iced tea always hits the spot too – especially this lemon and rosemary version. To take your juicing to the next level, try an apple, pear and rosemary blend.
Finally, let loose in the evenings with a rosemary gimlet gin or a lemon and rosemary bourbon sour.
7 . General Cooking
The myriad of ways to use fresh rosemary in the kitchen doesn’t end here – it works in everything from quiches and stir fries to stews and roasts. Experiment with your rosemary harvest and discover how versatile this pungent herb really is!
As a Medicine:
Like many herbs, rosemary is a potent alternative to conventional treatments for a number of ailments. Here’s how to harness its therapeutic properties:
8. Natural Deodorant
Adding herbs to your diet, such as rosemary, sage, mint, parsley, and basil, is the simplest way to improve your body odor, while staying away from the chemical laden deodorants.
9. Strong and Shiny Hair
The infusion of rosemary and nettle leaf works as an amazing post-shampoo hair rinse. Besides reducing dandruff, it also stimulates hair growth and eliminates impurities from the scalp. Simply add rosemary, thyme, peppermint, cedarwood, and lavender into your shampoo and massage it onto the scalp once a week.
10. Natural Pain Relief
When drunk as tea, rosemary relieves intestinal gas and heartburn. When used topically, it reduces the severity of eczema, gout, headache, toothache, and muscle pain. Due to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, the German Commission E has approved rosemary essential oil as arthritis treatment.
11. Stress and Anxiety
According to a 2009 study, using sachets containing rosemary and lavender scents reduced anxiety in nursing students. The nurses who sniffed the sachets had lower pulse rates and scored lower on anxiety measures.
12. Oral Health
Due to its antimicrobial properties, rosemary kills off bacteria which cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. All you have to do is to boil 4 rosemary springs and 4 whole cloves in 2 cups of water and use the solution as a mouthwash or add a few drops of rosemary oil to your toothpaste.
13. Skin Health
When used topically, rosemary essential oil treats skin irritations like eczema and acne and it accelerates the healing of bruises and wounds.