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The Many Faces Of Rosemary

I just cant get enough of this great spring weather and for good reason, this is the time when so many amazing herbs are in full bloom, and one in particular is rosemary, which in my recipe book is a real super-star!

First, rosemary is a perennial, shrub-like plant that has a most pleasant fragrance akin to pine, and is very easy on the eyes with needle-like leaves and pretty little purplish-blue flowers. Rosemary is widely used in cooking, especially in Mediterranean cuisine. If youve ever visited the Mediterranean region you would see rosemary growing wild just about everywhere. The name rosemary comes from the Latin term dew (ros) and sea (marinus) or dew of the sea. It requires very little water other than the humidity rising from the sea breezes in order to thrive. Because rosemary is such a beautiful and hardy plant, you will see it in many decorative gardens. Thats what I love most about this precious herbaceous plant not only is rosemary splendid in the garden, she also helps create splendid food, has an abundance of healing properties, and is widely used in many skin care products.

In cooking, rosemary combines well with other herbs but does have a tendency to be more dominant so you have to watch how much you use in any given recipe. The needle-like leaves are what are used to lend its assertive flavor to most dishes, such as roasted chicken or lamb, which are what rosemary is famous for. Whole sprigs can be tucked into the meat or vegetable for an herbal infusion, or simply placed in marinades; they also make for lovely garnishes. Rosemary also likes to show off by turning bland roasted potatoes into tongue-wagging potatoes. She adds a flavorful punch to roasted leg of lamb, and bumps up the flavor of roasted turkey, pork, fish, soup and a wide variety of vegetables dishes. And she doesnt stop there -- add a few teaspoons to a pot of beans for an aromatically exotic Mediterranean style dish reminiscent of her root origins. Rosemary can also add such a dramatic flavor to baked breads as well as seasoned breadcrumbs for coating.

Rosemarys needle-like leaves contain fragrant oil that is ideal when fresh, but when the needles are dried they still retain the fragrant oils. Dried herbs are at their strongest for the first six months, and can be kept for years. Test it out by pressing the dried herb between your fingers; if it still emits an aroma it will still emit flavor.

Our dried rosemary is available in whole leaf or ground form. Ground rosemary is nice if you don't want the bits of tough herb in the final product. For a lovely, healthy chicken dish, please try our Oven-baked Chicken Thighs with rosemary.

Whether you use rosemary as a culinary ingredient, or in your bath water or in essential oils, one thing is for sure, this amazing plant will never run out of uses.