We have always had rosemary in our garden, no matter where we lived. When we first got married we were living in rental houses, and dragged pots of herbs with us. Once we got our own house one of the first things Country Boy did was to plant a whole hedge of it on either side of our front path. As we walked past it into the house, we would often brush it with something and release its beautiful fragrance.
These days we have a few rosemary bushes just around the corner from the back step. Again they get brushed past regularly, releasing their perfume. We also have a pot of it sitting on our front veranda.
Rosemary grows pretty easily. It prefers well drained soil, and full sun – think a Mediterranean style climate. They are meant to be drought resistant which, for us, is a bonus. We really do just whack it in the ground and leave it to grow. It does need to be pruned from occasionally to keep the stems soft and the plant bushy. Pop it in a pot and it will look fabulous too.
When picking rosemary for cooking look for stems that are green and relatively soft (though not floppy), and leaves which are green without any brown marks.
Cooking with Rosemary
We use rosemary a lot in cooking. It’s so easy to just run outside and snip a few sprigs off when we need them.
One of my favourite ways to use rosemary is with lamb. Because lamb! Roughly chop a bunch of rosemary together with half a dozen cloves of garlic, a lemon (zested and juiced), a little ground cumin, and of course, salt and pepper. Use a little olive oil to make a rub. Rub it all over a butterflied leg of lamb, wrap it tightly in foil and slow roast for several hours. It’s one of my go to dishes when we have guests because it is quick to prepare, and so delicious.
We use rosemary on our potato and rosemary pizzas, and I often stick a sprig or two into casseroles or even spaghetti bolognaise to add it’s flavour to the mix. The flowers add a pretty and tasty touch to salads too.
I love this recipe for lamb shanks which are cooked with rosemary (though you will have to excuse the photo which is appallingly bad). The shanks are to die for and it is so easy to make!
Another way we use rosemary is to pick the long woody stems, strip off the leaves (keep a few on the tip), and then use the stems to thread meat or vegetables on like skewers. Pop them on the BBQ for a bit of infused goodness in your kebabs.
Rosemary adds a strong flavour to food, so generally you don’t need to use a lot of it. Because the leaves are quite chewy, it is important to chop them finely if you want to actually eat the leaves.
Do you grow rosemary? Got a great recipe that use rosemary?. We have so much of it growing.