Wild About Rosemary.
I grew up in an area of Canada where the winters are long and cold. Very few herbs can be grown there on a regular basis outside, Sage, Parsley and Chives are about it. When I moved to Vancouver for school I saw lovely varieties of all forms of herbs including many more tender species. I now live in Victoria which has an even milder climate which is drier and considered to be close to that of the Mediterranean where most herbs originated. This is a perfect climate to grow Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis). You can see wonderfully grown Rosemaries everywhere and I’m sure many a cook loves to go out and get a sprig of fresh leaves for what ever they are creating. I am teaming up with my good friend Kim at Twitter @OMRecipes, http://ordinaryrecipesmadegourmet.com . These are the recipes for Roseamary that she has created specially for The Garden Palette.
Being that Rosemary originated in the Mediterranean, it is used extensively in all forms of cooking there. Rosemary is traditionally associated with other strong flavors such as: mutton (or lamb), onions, garlic and lemon. Stripped branches can be used as skewers for meat kabobs.
Rosemary has a long history as a culinary, medicinal, and garden plant. ‘Rosemary is for remembrance’ – a common phrase as the herb was a symbol of friendship and loyalty. Its first use may well have been as a medicinal herb. Ancient Greek scholars wore wreaths of it to help improve their memory and ability to concentrate. Medicinally it has been used in the past as a tonic, stimulant and carminative to treat dyspepsia, headaches, and nervous tension. The Chinese have also used Rosemary in various forms for centuries. In medieval times, it was strewn in law courts and carried in pouches by common people to ward off disease.
The strong odor of the oils found in Rosemary is likely what people thought was medicinal. Tiny amount of oils (1-2.5%) found in Rosemary include therein: cinerol, camphor, pinene, and several others in smaller quantities. These same oils are what give rosemary its flavor. Herbs get a lot of their flavor from the oils in their leaves which are volatile and can be lost with improper storage. As with all dried herb products air, light and moisture damage the quality of the flavor. Protect them best by always storing dry herbs in airtight containers made of glass or tin. Store all your herbs in a cool, dark, dry space (not next to the stove or on the counter). Be sure to buy small quantities which can be used quickly and replace your old herbs yearly.
It is always preferable to use herbs fresh from the garden, and if not, look for the finest quality organically grown dried leaves. The leaves should still have a good strong green color as a faded color indicates it may be old. One thing to remember is that the flavor is more concentrated in dried herbs like Rosemary so use less of it when using it in replacement for fresh.
Rosemary grows in a hot dry climate, because it grows at low altitudes in rocky areas it can tolerate more moisture than some other herbs which can die with excess moisture which we get here in the winter. You need lots of sun, well drained to gritty lean soil and adequate moisture during its growing season for best growth. It is hardy to -10c (25f).
Rosemary is generally grown form cuttings and there are now many attractive forms of it which you can select from depending on what you are looking for. There are attractive trailing as well as the standard upright forms. Colors range from almost pure white through like pink into fairly dark blue forms which of course are the most famous.
Links for Remembering Rosemary:
If you haven’t check out Kim’s recipes now is your chancehttp://blog.ordinaryrecipesmadegourmet.com/2009/05/wild-about-rosemary-garden-palette.html
A simple explanation of growing Rosemary. http://www.gardeningpatch.com/herbs/growing-rosemary.aspx