Rosemary - Herb, Spice and Beautiful Plant
Rosemary is an interesting ornamental plant which thrives in a Mediterranean-like climate. It is a hardy plant and often used in landscaping where it can grow quite large. Rosemary is often found in perfumes and incense. It is also used to provide a fragrance for shampoos and cleansing products.
The name Rosemary is steeped in biblical legend that portrays the Virgin Mary’s flight from Egypt. The legend has it that when the Virgin Mary had to stop and rest for the evening, she draped her blue cloak on a bush alongside the path that evening before retiring. The next morning the flower had turned sky blue and the bush became known as the “rose of Mary."
The ancient Greeks were also known to braid their hair with blossoms from the rosemary plant in hopes of enhancing their mental acuity and in improving their memory.
You will find Rosemary to be an ingredient useful in many items found at your grocery. Fresh and dried leaves are very common in Mediterranean dishes based on Lamb, pork, poultry, seafood, and rabbit. Rosemary is also popular in lighter fish dishes, tomato sauces and vegetables.
I remember many years ago when it was widely known that I was skeptical of Rosemary as a spice in my kitchen. At that time I also found carrots to be attractive as a garnish but fairly useless as a food. One evening a friend of mine prepared sautéed carrots with lemon and Rosemary. I was overwhelmed! The next day Rosemary had a permanent place on my spice rack. Try this simple recipe and see if it affects you the same way.
- 4 or 5 large carrots, peeled, and sliced diagonally to 1/4 inch thickness
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/4 stick)
- 1 large garlic clove finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel (yellow skin only)
- Juice from the lemon
Boil the carrots in salted water until they are easy to fork. It is important not to overcook since they will later be sautéed. Drain, rinse and place in ice water to stop the softening.
Melt butter with medium heat using a large skillet. Add garlic and sauté for about 2 minutes. Add the rosemary and lemon peel. Dry the carrots with a paper towel and add them to the skillet. Add carrots and toss to heat throughout. Sample the carrots as you sauté. Make sure they don’t get too soft. Season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Spoon onto plates and serve.
I have used this same recipe with summer squash and with green tomatoes. Another variant is honey instead of lemon. Also try using dry rosemary -- about one half of what you would use if fresh.
Oh, I almost forgot, Rosemary, especially Rosemary tea, is also reported to be great for improving you memory!
Medicinal Uses of Rosemary
Rosemary has been around forever and a day. Or it least long enough to have generated a long list of claims for its usage beyond the kitchen.
Among the many medicinal uses, Rosemary is known for you'll find that it is being used internally as an aid to digestion, for the treatment of depression, to eliminate or minimize the effect of headaches, as an expectorant and as a tonic to promote menstrual flow.
Externally oil has been processed into an ointment that is used to treat such maladies as open wounds and sores, bruises, eczema and aching muscles. Other external uses include Rosemary and borax which supposedly make a nice smelling shampoo but also serves to eliminate dandruff and stimulate the growth of hair.
Homemade Rosemary tea has long been used for digestive problems and as an expectorant, to relieve cold symptoms. There are also claims that it is a relaxing beverage that may be helpful for headaches and minor depression.
As a warning though it is fairly well documented that Rosemary can irritate the stomach, intestines and kidneys if taken internally. It is of course, always a good practice to consult your personal doctor before embarking on any herbal treatments.
Organic Rosemary Whole Leaf
Check out my other Hubs on Spices
- Parsley with Pizza, Pesto, Potatoes & More
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- Cilantro or Coriander - They are Not Really the Same
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- Vanilla Beans
There are few kitchen cabinets where the ubiquitous little bottle of Vanilla Extract cannot be found. But few realize that Vanilla is found in cosmetics, perfumes and many other non-food producs.
- Bay Leaves - Fact and Fiction
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- Chives with Sour Cream on a Baked Potato
Nothing complements cream cheese or sour cream like fresh chives!