Other common names Compass plant, dew of the sea, incensier, Mary's mantle.Parts used leaves, flowering tops
Few herbs are as universally grown and loved as rosemary. There are a inimher of varieties available and rosemary has many garden uses, from hedging, spillovers and pols lo gronndeovers and topiary. The refreshing resinous smell and flavor of its evergreen foliage is indispensahle in cooking.
The bruised leaves of rosemary have a cooling pine like scent, with mint and eucalyptus overtones, and the strong taste can overwhelm other flavors if used too generously. It complements similarly strong flavors such as wine and garlic; starchy foods (bread, scones, potatoes); rich meats such as lamb, pork, duck and game; vegetables such as eggplants zucchini and brassicas; and is also used in sausages, stuffings soups and stews, or steeped in vinegar or olive oil to flavor them.
The leaves have a rather woody texture, so use them finely chopped. Alternatively, use whole sprigs, or tie leaves in a square of muslin, and remove just before serving. Dried rosemary has a flavor similar to that of fresh, but its very hard texture may not soften, even on long cooking. Rosemary is popular in Italian cookery. Make a simple and delicious pizza topping with thinly sliced potatoes, crushed garlic and chopped fresh rosemary leaves.
Rosemary is one of the main ingredients in the famous antiseptic Vinegar of the Four Thieves, and can be used in a number of ways around the home.
In ancient times wore rosemary garlands during exams to improve their concentration.
You can crystallize the flowers of rosemary with egg white and caster sugar.
Rosemary has a strong association with the Virgin Mary. It is said that, when the Holy family was fleeing from Herod's soldiers. Mary spread her blue cloak over a white-flowering rosemary bush to dry, but when she removed the cloak, the while flowers had turned blue in her honor. Also associated with ancient magical lore, rosemary was often called Elf Leal, and hunches of it were hung around houses to keep thieves anil witches out and to prevent fairies (rum entering anil stealing infants.
Rosmarinus means "dew of the sea," and in the wild this herb is most commonly found growing on sea cliffs around the Mediterranean. Despite their different forms and colors, all the rosemary varieties offered in nurseries belong to one species, ft officinalis. There are two other species that are both rare -ft eriocalyx and ft fomenrosus, from southern Spain and north-western Africa, which have not entered general cultivation. Rosemary flowers vary from pale to rich blue, violet, mauve, pink or white. The form varies, from rounded bushes and prostrate varieties to columnar varieties up to 10 ft (3 m) tall. The majority are well suited to culinary uses. All are evergreen with small, dense, narrow, pointed leaves.
Recommended tall varieties include Tuscan Blue syn. "Erectus" with large leaves; the delightfully scented "Portuguese Pink" with pink flowers; and Sawyer's Selection! Among the most intensely blue-flowered bush forms are "Collingwood Ingram" syn. "Majorca" and "Benenden Blue" "Salem" "Blue Lagoon" "Severn Sea" "Corsican Blue; the violet blue-flowered "Miss Jessup's Upright" "Suffolk Blue" the excellent "Herb Cottage" and the strong- growing, superbly fragrant 'Gorizia,' introduced into general cultivation by Tom DeBaggio from the city of Gorizia in northern Italy. Pink-flowered bush forms include "Pink Majorca Pink" and "Provence Pink" while white-flowered forms include "Wendy's White" syn. "Upright White"."Sissinghurst White" syn. "Albus" and "Nancy Howard". Semi-prostrate forms ideal for trailing over walls include the glossy-leafed, mid-blue lockwood de Forest, "Fota Blue" the very fine-leafed "Mason's Finest" sky-blue-flowered "Prostratus" "Santa Barbara" "Huntington Carpet" and the beautiful "Shimmering Stars" with pink buds and blue flowers. Variegated leaf forms currently available include "Genges Gold" "Gilded" syn "Aureus" and the white-margined "Silver Spires" The varieties Arp Severn Sea and Madeleine Hill syn. Hill Hardy are more cold-resistant than most.
This plant requires full sunshine and excellent drainage. Rosemary is tolerant of a range of pH, from moderately acid to moderately alkaline soil, although the latter results in more compact growth and intense fragrance. In colder areas, grow plants m pots outdoors, then take them into the greenhouse in winter. Rosemary is excellent for seaside planting.
Propagate rosemary by tip cuttings taken in early autumn or spring Rosemary seed germinates poorly, and plants do not come true to variety.
Regular light pruning helps to shape plants. Bushes respond well to clipping and shaping, and make excellent topiaries. Correct mulching is essential, because organic mulches tend to hold moisture near the mam stem as "ell as the lower foliage, encouraging a number of fungal rots. For this reason, gravel, coarse gritty sand or small pebbles are the most suitable mulch.
Over watered Potted rosemary is very prone to root rot, often first seen as browning of the leaf tips. Porous clay pots arc preferable to plastic because they allow the soil to drain properly Regular light trimming allows good aeration of the foliage and inhibits fungal wilts. Other problems, largely associated with overwintering plants in greenhouses, include spider mites white flies and mealybugs .
In milder climates, take clippings of rosemary any time of the year, then air-dry in a well-ventilated place. When completely dry, strip the whole leaves from the stems and store in airtight bottles. Major harvesting should be done before flowering. Gather fresh flowers to use as a garnish on salads and desserts.
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Rosmarinus officinalis. Parts used: leaves, flowering tops. The medicinal properties of rosemary as a tonic and stimulant to the nerves and circulation make it a popular remedy for combating general fatigue and depression, and for improving poor circulation.
Rosemary also enhances memory and concentration by increasing blood flow to the head. While rosemary can be taken as an infusion, the essential oil is commonly used for these conditions. A few drops can be added to a vaporizer or diluted in a little vegetable oil and applied topically for its beneficial effects. Used externally, rosemary essential oil can be applied in a diluted form to relieve muscle cramps and arthritic joint pain. It also has a reputation for preventing premature baldness and stimulating hair growth.
Rosemary is regarded as a traditional digestive remedy and. when taken as an infusion, it can help to ease cramping, bloating and gas, and may ease "liverish" symptoms, such as headaches and poor digestion of fats. For the safe and appropriate medicinal use of rosemary, consult your health care professional. Do not use rosemary in greater than culinary quantities if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
In World War 2, rosemary leaves and juniper berries were burned in French hospitals to kill germs.