Using Rosemary

Written by David McCarthy, Australia

Rosemary Latin: Rosmarinus officinalis

The Rosemary plant is part of the mint family and is among the most commonly used herbs worldwide.

The leaves extend to a maximum of one inch from the branches. You cut an entire branch and run your hands along the leaves to separate them from the branch for use.

Note: If you are making kebabs, or anything that requires a skewer, it is a good idea to sharpen the branch, soak in water for half an hour and use as a skewer while cooking.

The native home of Rosemary is the Mediterranean and today it grows in most climates due to plant grafting technology. It is primarily used as flavoring for lamb, pork, chicken and rabbit dishes and especially as flavoring in stews and casseroles.


Legend has it that during her flight from Egypt the Virgin Mary draped her cloak on a Rosemary bush and laid a white flower on top of her cloak. Overnight the flower turned blue and the bush became known as the Rose of Mary. Greeks made Rosemary wreaths to wear around their heads in the belief that it enhanced their brain and improved memory. It is also the symbol of fidelity. In the Middle Ages it was used both medicinally and as flavoring for salted meats. It was burned at European weddings as a form of incense and judges burned it in court as protection against illness that may be brought into court by prisoners.


As we are more interested in Rosemary as a cooking herb here are a few uses: It has an assertive "pine like" flavor that blends perfectly with garlic to season lamb roasts, meat stews or casseroles and marinades. It also adds to lighter dishes such as fish, tomato sauces and vegetables. Try melting butter with Rosemary to dress freshly boiled potatoes, peas or even stir-fried mixture of Zucchini (corgettes) and Squash.

Bringing out the Flavor

There are two ways of bringing out the flavor in Rosemary before use. First you can dip a bunch of it into boiling water and secondly you can break the leaves either by hand or using a pestle and mortar.

Never be shy of using herbs in your cooking because they not only enhance the dish but the aroma they exude makes the house smell very pleasant and homely.

People who have never used herbs when cooking have never experienced the exquisite flavors and aromas that herbs add to a meal. If you are unsure and would like to try herbs then Rosemary is ideal to use for your early experiments.

This article reflects the views of the author and is not meant to be medical advice. As with anything dealing with your health, you should see a medical professional for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of specific health problems.

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