Tag Archives: Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen

Growing Rosemary

If you think growing rosemary is a mystery read the following blog and hopefully it will answer your questions on growing the perfect and happy rosemary.

Rosemary is a tender woody evergreen perennial, which needs to be brought in for the winter if you live in zone 6 and lower. Zone 7 can usually winter over rosemary especially if it is in a protected area.

Growing rosemary

Growing Rosemary

When bringing rosemary in for the winter just remember rosemary like humidity, does not want to dry out, and hates wet feet.  I know confusing. One way to ensure humidity is to mist it daily and only water about once a week or when the top layer has dried out. Another way to achieve humidity is to place it on a bed of gravel and keep the gravel wet. The gravel will keep the rosemary from setting in a wet saucer, which it does not like.

I like to grow rosemary in pots and bring it in for the winter.  A pot of rosemary can be sunk in the ground with the top of the pot above ground level and “dug” up for the winter.

How to Grow Rosemary:

Site: Sunny, protect rosemary form cold winds, and it can tolerate light shade.

Soil: needs good drainage. Rosemary likes a lime soil, which will increase its fragrance, but may keep it from growing very tall. Add eggshells to the soil and around the plant. Soil should be about 6.5-7.0 pH.

Propagating: Rosemary does not grow well from seed. The best way is layering or by taking cuttings. If you try  seeds, make sure the soil is warm about 70°F.

Growing: Transplant when the plant has several leaves and large enough to take the stress.

Two cultivars: Prostrate and upright. Prostrate Rosemary will grow low to the ground and makes a great plant to grow where it can trail over a wall. The upright will grow about 3 to 6ft. depending on where it is grown.

Harvesting: Pick leaves all summer long, but may want to avoid picking during the winter months. If your are like me and you like to cook with fresh rosemary, take only enough leaves for the dish. For some reason it does not like to be cut much during the winter months.

Preserving: The leaves can be dried either by hanging up or in a food dehydrator. It also works well frozen. The leaves can be tough when dried or frozen so it should be crushed before using. When cutting the branches for harvest always leave about 1/3 of the stem from the base. Cut the stem at an angle just above a nodule. (a nodule is where a new branch or leaf will grow).

Companion planting: Rosemary likes to be planted near cabbages, carrots, sage, broccoli, onions, and beans.

Rosemary may help to repel cabbage worm butterfly, bean beetles, and carrot worm butterfly.

Uses: Rosemary has many uses, one is culinary check out my blog on “Fresh herbs in the Kitchen” or “Fried potatoes with Rosemary and Garlic.” or the article about making vinegar hair rinse.

Use the rosemary stems as skewers when barbecuing.

Rosemary is used in shampoo, hair tonics, facial scrubs, and the essential oil is used in “Hungary water”.  Used in cleaning products just to name a few uses of rosemary.

Decorative:Upright Rosemary makes a great plant for topiaries or bonsai. It can be trim especially during the summer to about any shape you like. Use in potpourri and to fragrant linens.

Medicinal: The leaf will stimulates circulation and increases blood flow. When adding to cooking it will aid in the digestion of fats.

Try this wonderful plant with it pungent, pine-like scent and a pepper flavor. The ancient Greeks believe rosemary improve memory and wore wreaths on their head while studying. In the middle ages, sprigs of rosemary was placed under the pillow to ward off evil spirits and to prevent nightmares.

It is known as the herb of Remembrance.

Happy Gardening!







Bouquet Garni and Fine Herbs

In a previous post,”Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen”, I mentioned herbs used in Bouquet Garni and Fine Herbs. What exactly is bouquet garni and fine herbs blend? I hope the following will answer the question.

Bouquet Garni is a small bunch of aromatic fresh herbs and spices tied together and used in stocks, soups, stews, and sauces.

The herbs are tied together to keep the herbs contained so the flavor not the bits of the herb  will infuse the food. Fresh herbs have a tendency to look bad in the dish if they have cooked for longer than 10 to 15 minutes. Plus all their flavor is gone after the long cooking time. Both dried and fresh herbs along with spices can be used. If using dried herbs use method two.

Method #1: Tie two or three sprigs of Italian parsley (flat leaf) with one or two sprigs of thyme, and a bay leaf. You can include marjoram, French tarragon, rosemary, or sage in one or two sprigs each depending on the flavor desired.

Try tucking the herbs between two stalks of celery before tying for additional flavor. Some bouquet garni contain peppercorns, whole allspice, and whole cloves. Once the dish is cooked, remove the bunch of herbs.

Method #2: The bouquet garni is place in a small square of cheesecloth or clean muslin. The herbs are chopped and usually dried with this method. Bring the corners together and tie with a string with a tail long enough to hang over the edge, (not too long, you don’t want it to catch on fire) or tie to the handle of the pot. This makes it easy to remove. The dried herbs can also be placed in a tea ball instead of cheesecloth.

The bouquet garni can be made ahead from either fresh or dried. The fresh can be frozen and added to the pot straight from the freezer. The dried can be place in an airtight container for future use.

Fine Herbs blend: are usually added to the dish in small quantities in vegetables, eggs, chicken, soup, salads, sauces and fish dishes. Add the last few minutes of cooking to retain their flavor.

Fine herbs include finely chopped in equal amounts of chervil, chives, tarragon, and parsley.

A jar of dried fine herbs make a wonderful gift to anyone who enjoys cooking.

To make the gift jar of Fine Herbs blend: Fine a pretty jar or container with a tight fitting lid and add the dry herbs in equal amounts listed above. Include a few of your favorite recipes to the jar. Tie with a pretty bow. Don’t forget a label for the jar with the date the herbs were dried. Herbs loose their flavor after a certain amount of time. Six months to a year.

Happy Cooking!