The Many and Varied Uses of Rosemary
Out of all of the herbs I grow, rosemary is the easiest to propagate and care for. I begin with a 3 inch cutting, pull off the bottom leaves, and stick it in my root trainers. These are small but deep containers with ridges on the side to train the roots to grow downward. After a few months, I notice new growth and eventually transplant them into pots. I start the cuttings throughout most of the year so that I have different sizes available for sale in late April. I am trying my hand at topiaries, so those will need a longer growing season to fill in. In my zone 8 garden, rosemary is an evergreen bush. The ‘ARP' cultivar is said to be the hardiest in zones 6 to 7.
Cuttings in root trainers Rooted cutting
Rosemary is very useful in the bath. It can be used straight or mixed with other herbs for an aromatic bath. It is used as a sore muscle soak or to relieve cold symptoms. You can make an infusion of 2 tablespoons dried rosemary to 1 cup boiling water. Cover and steep for at least 10 minutes and strain. This infusion can be used as a hair rinse after you shampoo. Rosemary is often used in homemade soaps as well for its antiseptic qualities.
Soap, plant and carpet deodorizer
Rosemary is said to be useful as an insect repellant. I use it, along with other herbs and baking soda, to make a carpet deodorizer and insect deterrent. Just grind the dried herbs in a coffee grinder and mix with baking soda. Sprinkle some of the powder over your carpet and let it set for awhile before vacuuming. This will not only freshen up your carpet but also make your vacuum smell better.
I use stems of the herb in floral arrangements for greenery and fragrance as well. It is also useful as a wreath base. I like to use rosemary along with other culinary herbs in hanging bunches. As the herbs dry they release their fragrance in my kitchen.
When I use rosemary for cooking, I rinse off the bush before I cut some stems. If I don't plan to use it right away, I hang it in the kitchen to dry so it is always close by if needed in a recipe. Rosemary is often used in a blend with other culinary herbs. I use it on chicken, in homemade breads and on fried potatoes. You can use a rosemary sprig to baste grilled corn on the cob with butter. Rosemary stems are also used in the BBQ. Just toss them onto the coals for a smoky fragrance or use them to grill shish kebabs on. If using a dried stem, be sure to soak it first to prevent charring. Rosemary flowers can be used in salads or as a garnish.
As useful as rosemary is, I think one of its most important features is that it attracts hundreds of bees when it is in bloom. With the concern of the colony collapse, I think planting their favorites certainly couldn't hurt!
Thanks to ottoson for the use of her wonderful soap in my picture!
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