Rosemary - How to Cook and Grow

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A shrub like evergreen known as the herb of remembrance rosemary is one of the strongest and most distinctive herbs in the kitchen garden. Native to the Mediterranean where it can be found growing wild on the hills it can grow up to six feet in height. Rosemary has spiky, evergreen leaves of deep green colour with specks of silver-white lines underneath. In the summer months pale-blue flowers appear from the woody stems and are a great attraction to bees. Aside from its culinary importance the wonderful aroma of rosemary is commonly found in soaps, shampoos, bathing lotions and essential oils.


How to Grow

Only really hardy in Mediterranean countries it can survive a typical British winter. Container grown rosemary is ideal for colder climates as they can be brought indoors during the harsh winter months. Rosemary is best grown from cuttings, growing from seed is more difficult and germination is extremely slow taking as long as three years to obtain a sizeable plant. Rosemary thrives in well-drained soil in full sun but does tolerate partial shade. Plant two to three feet apart to encourage bushy growth and cut older plants back quite hard though never in the autumn or when there is a risk of frost.

How to Cook

Rosemary leaves can be used fresh or dried and is surprisingly versatile given its powerful aroma. It is perfect with roast or braised lamb, grilled fish or vegetables and especially good with tomatoes and pasta. A couple of sprigs liven up a cooking oil or vinegar or can be thrown on the barbeque to impart plenty of flavour and wood-like smells to your meat or fish.

Content and picture Miles Collins