Also Known as
Looking like a small sprig from an evergreen tree the wonderful smell and assertively pine-like fragrance and pungent flavor of rosemary goes a long way to flavor a variety of dishes. Rosemary grows on a small evergreen shrub belonging to the Labiatae family that is related to mint. Its leaves look like flat pine-tree needles, deep green in color on top while silver-white on their underside. Its memorable flavor and unique health benefits makes it an indispensable herb for every kitchen.
It is not surprising that the taste and aroma of the herb rosemary, historically used for strengthening the memory, is unforgettable. Rosemary has a unique pine-like fragrant flavor that is balanced by a rich pungency, a combination that evokes both the forest and the sea. Its memorable flavor and unique health benefits makes it an indispensable herb for every kitchen.
Dried rosemary is used for commercial purposes. It is brownish green in colour. The leaves have a tea like fragrance. Dried leaves when crushed have spicy camphoraceous aroma and a pungent, bitter taste.
How to Select
Rosemary is available throughout the year. Whenever possible, choose fresh rosemary over the dried form of the herb since it is far superior in flavor. The springs of fresh rosemary should look vibrantly fresh and should be deep sage green in color, and free from yellow or dark spots.
Even through dried herbs and spices are widely available in supermarkets, explore the local spice stores in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansion selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness to those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried herbs, when purchasing dried rosemary, try to select organically grown herbs since this will give you more assurance that the herbs contain no pesticide residues and have not been irradiated (among other potential adverse effects, irradiating rosemary may lead to a significant decrease in its carotenoid content.)
· Fresh tender tops are used for garnishing and flavouring cold drinks, pickles, soups, stews and sauces.
· Its leaves are best used as a condiment.
· Quickly rinse rosemary under cool running water and pat dry. Most recipes call for rosemary leaves, which can be easily removed from the stem. Alternatively, you can add the whole sprig to season soups, stews and meat dishes, and then simply remove it before serving.
· Add fresh rosemary to omelets and frittatas.
· Rosemary is a wonderful herb for seasoning dishes.
· Add rosemary to tomato sauces and soups.
· Even better than butter……purée fresh rosemary leaves with olive oil and use as a dipping sauce for bread.
How to Store
Fresh rosemary should be stored in the refrigerator either in its original packaging or wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel. You can also place the rosemary sprigs in ice cube trays covered with either water or stock that can be added when preparing soups or stews. Dried rosemary should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark and dry place where it will keep fresh for about six months.
· The wonderful smell of rosemary is often associated with good food and great times. But it could just as easily be associated with good health.
· Rosemary is an antidote to mental fatigue and forgetfulness.
· A tea made from the herb is a good natural remedy for bringing mental agility
· It is valuable in digesting foods, thereby avoiding flatulence and discomfort.
· It also relieves the pain in rheumatism, rosemary leaves when immersed and used for vapour baths.
· Rosemary is a good source of the minerals iron and calcium, as well as dietary fiber.
· Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion.
· Rosemary also contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may make it useful for reducing the severity of asthma attacks.
· In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase the blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration.
· So, the next time you enhance the flavor of some special dish with rosemary, congratulate yourself for a wise as well as delicious choice.