Origin of Rosemary
Rosemary is a perennial herb and a member of the mint family. It is incredibly fragrant, with needle-like leaves (much like an evergreen) and flowers that may be white, pink, blue, or purple.
This herb is native to the Mediterranean. Today, however, it is primarily grown commercially in Spain. It’s also widely produced in Portugal, France, and the United States.
Rosemary Flavor Profile
Unlike less potent herbs, rosemary is so incredibly aromatic and pungent that it is possibly the single most powerful stand-alone herb you can keep in your kitchen. The strong aromas and complexities of its flavors seem to come together in a way that you won’t find in any other single herb or spice.
Both the aromas and flavors of rosemary have a distinct and complex range, which combine so well that it’s almost unexpected. As you smell and taste the full range of rosemary’s profile, you can’t help but feel amazement at the way such seemingly contradictory elements come together perfectly, each aroma and flavor within the herb perfectly complementing the others.
Rosemary has a very pronounced lemon-pine flavor, yet it is also woodsy and peppery at the same time. The taste is piney, but also bitter and somewhat astringent. The aroma is tea-like, with a fragrance similar to charred wood that makes it extremely compatible with barbecued dishes.
When rosemary leaves are roasted with meats or vegetables, a distinctive mustard-like aroma is produced. Whether you’re cooking or handling fresh or dried leaves, you’ll note a release of aromas including pine, menthol and pepper.
This incredibly unique flavor profile is something that only rosemary can provide and it works extraordinarily well with a vast array of various dishes.
Rosemary certainly isn’t a shy herb, but the ability of its assertive flavor to blend so well with so many different foods means that you can experiment freely without too much worry of combining flavors that just don’t quite mesh well together. The possibilities are nearly endless when it comes to creating exciting and well-blended dishes using rosemary.
Health Benefits of Rosemary
For centuries, rosemary has been one of the primary herbs used in herbal remedies the world over. Most commonly known as a natural way to boost memory, Greek students would often braid sprigs of rosemary into their hair in order to help them score well on exams.
We now know that there is a solid scientific basis for many of the long-held beliefs, traditions and folk remedies pertaining to rosemary. Modern science has shown that this herb can give you an increase in both memory and concentration. Its piney and energizing camphor aroma can also lift your mood while helping you to fight mental fatigue and remain alert.
Inhaling this herb in its essential oil form is the best way to give your brain a boost, as this particular delivery method takes the herb right to the source where it can immediately begin to benefit your brain power.
While memory improvement is rosemary’s most well-known benefit, there is a vast array of other benefits this herb can offer.
Rosemary is a natural muscle relaxant, insect repellent, antioxidant and analgesic agent. It stimulates the central nervous system and circulation, which is increases digestive health while decreasing fatigue and sluggishness. It is used in cosmetics and skin care products to soften and tone the skin, while the oil is often used as a perfume or room fragrance. It is even burnt as incense and used in cleaning products.
There are so many health benefits attributed to this incredible herb that it should be a staple in your household in its various forms, from essential oil in the medicine cabinet to fresh leaves in the kitchen.
The following are just a few of the ailments for which rosemary can offer relief:
- Rashes and eczema
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Menstrual cramps
- Scrapes and bruises
- Joint pain
- Sore muscles
When added to your hair care routine in the shower, rosemary soothes the scalp, cures dandruff, speeds hair growth and prevents hair loss, all while improving and maintaining an overall healthy scalp and beautiful hair.
Common Uses of Rosemary
While the uses of rosemary are many and varied, its most commonly used as a staple in traditional Italian cuisine.
Fresh or dried leaves pair beautifully with a vast array of dishes including root vegetables, pasta, sauces, fresh cheeses, breads, poultry and lamb. Pork and rabbit dishes are typically seasoned with rosemary as well. Whole rosemary is used to infuse oil, sauces and even syrups.
– Melted butter & rosemary applied as dressing to steamed red potatoes or stir-fried zucchini and summer squash
– Garlic and rosemary to season lamb roasts, marinades and hearty stews
– Lemon and rosemary to liven up mild fishes
– Fresh or dried leaves of rosemary provide excellent flavoring for tomato sauces
– Rosemary and olive oil for a variety of dishes or as dipping sauce for fresh bread
– Potatoes and rosemary combined in any form make a lovely pair!
The wonderfully fresh taste and amazing aroma of rosemary infuses a dish with its entire range of flavors, giving each dish an earthiness and pungent herbal bite that no other herb or spice can produce. Rosemary’s complex flavor even combines exceptionally well with mushrooms, grains, oregano, onion, sausage, thyme, tomatoes, seafood, asparagus, cranberry, citrus, fennel, beans, basil, parsley and even apples.
Rosemary leaves can be used to make a delicious and aromatic herbal tea. Grill masters can use whole sprigs of the herb to lend flavor to whatever you’re cooking by simply adding them to the grill. The strong fragrance will flavor your grilled cuisine as the sprigs release their pungent fragrance. Longer branches can be used as skewers for vegetables and shrimp, creating a grilled treat that is both mouth-wateringly delicious and aesthetically pleasing!
Gardeners and landscapers love rosemary as well, using it as a decorative, ornamental addition to gardens. This is a very popular use for rosemary, as it’s particularly hardy, easy to grow and has natural pest-control effects. The plants produce lovely little flowers in a variety of colors and this plant has a dense texture that allows it to be easily pruned into shapes for topiary or trimmed to a low hedge.
Rosemary is attractive and drought-tolerant, easily grown in almost any climate. The plants can grow quite large and retain their beauty for many years. In addition, the fragrance that rosemary emits beneath the warmth of the sun can make any garden a pleasure as you reap the benefits of inhaling this incredible herb!
Whether it is used for cooking, as an ornamental garden plant or medicinally, rosemary is an absolute staple with uses that can benefit anyone.