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What is rosemary?

Rosemary is a perennial evergreen herb in the mint family Lamiaceae. It is native to the Mediterranean region and is used as a culinary herb, as well as for medicinal and ornamental purposes. The leaves are needle-like and have a pungent, slightly bitter taste. They are used to flavor meat, soups, stews, and stuffings. The plant is also known for its fragrant aroma and is used in perfumes and soaps.

cooking with rosemary

Are there different varieties of rosemary?

Yes, there are several different varieties of rosemary. Some common varieties include:

  • Rosemary ’Arp’: A hardy variety that can survive temperatures as low as -10°F. It has upright, blue-gray foliage and is known for its strong aroma.
  • Rosemary ’Hill Hardy’: A variety that is known for its hardiness and ability to survive in colder climates. It has an upright growth habit and dark blue flowers.
  • Rosemary ’Prostratus’: A trailing variety that is often used as a ground cover. It has small, blue flowers and is ideal for gardens with sloping terrain.
  • Rosemary ’Sudbury Blue’: This is a compact variety with a mound-forming habit, known for its bright blue flowers and its strong aroma.
  • Rosemary ’Tuscan Blue’: A upright variety, known for its bluish-silver leaves and its fragrant aroma. It’s one of the most popular rosemary variety.

Each variety have their own characteristics and adaptability, this is just a sample, there are many more of them, so it is important to choose the right one for the intended purpose, whether it is for culinary, ornamental or medicinal use, and also take into account the local weather and soil conditions.

Can you use any variety of rosemary for cooking?

Yes, any variety of rosemary can be used for cooking, but some varieties may be more flavorful or have a stronger aroma than others. It is best to choose a culinary variety of rosemary when using it to flavor food.

The variety ’Tuscan blue’ and ’Sudbury Blue’ are considered the best for culinary use due to their high oil content and strong aroma. However, any variety will work and it will depend on personal preference.

Fresh or dried leaves can be used to flavor meats, soups, stews, and other dishes. The woody stem can also be used as skewers for grilling or roasting. you could use the fresh, dried or even frozen leaves to season your meals.

How do you cook with rosemary?

There are many ways to cook with rosemary. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Fresh rosemary can be chopped and added to marinades for meats, such as pork, chicken, or beef. The marinade can also include ingredients such as olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and other herbs.
  • Rosemary can also be used to flavor soups and stews. Whole sprigs of rosemary can be added to the pot, or the leaves can be chopped and added at the end of cooking.
  • Rosemary is a great addition to roasted vegetables, such as potatoes, carrots, and parsnips. Simply toss the vegetables with a little oil, salt, and chopped rosemary before roasting.
  • Rosemary can also be used to flavor breads and other baked goods. Fresh rosemary can be chopped and mixed into dough or used to make a rosemary butter to spread on bread or rolls.
  • Skewers of rosemary branches are a great addition to grilled meats and vegetables. Soak branches in water before skewering the meats or vegetables to prevent them from burning.
  • Rosemary can also be used in making a tea, that could be taken as a beverage or used as a seasoning.

Remember that rosemary has a strong and quite assertive flavor, so it’s good to use it sparingly, you could start with a small amount and add more to your taste. Also bear in mind that it pairs well with ingredients like garlic, lemon, cheese and other Mediterranean flavors, they can help balance the flavor out.

What are some good dishes to make with rosemary?

There are many dishes that can be made with rosemary, here are a few examples:

  • Roast Chicken with Rosemary: Rosemary is a classic herb to use with chicken. Simply season a whole chicken with salt, pepper, and chopped rosemary, then roast in the oven.
  • Rosemary Grilled Lamb: Marinate lamb chops in a mixture of olive oil, chopped rosemary, garlic, and lemon juice before grilling to perfection.
  • Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Potatoes: Cut potatoes into wedges, toss with olive oil, chopped rosemary, and minced garlic, then roast in the oven.
  • Rosemary and Lemon marinated Seafood: Mix olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, garlic and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, pour over the fish or shrimps, and leave to marinate for at least an hour before grilling or baking.
  • Rosemary Focaccia: Mix rosemary leaves into the dough of a focaccia bread before baking, it will give a nice aroma and flavor to the bread.
  • Rosemary and Parmesan Risotto: Rosemary can be used to add flavor to a creamy risotto. Cook arborio rice with chicken or vegetable stock, butter, grated parmesan cheese and chopped rosemary.
  • Rosemary and Lemon Sorbet: blend fresh rosemary leaves and lemon juice with sugar syrup and churn in an ice cream maker.

These are just a few examples, but rosemary can be used in many different dishes and in many different cuisines. It pairs well with meats, poultry, seafood, potatoes, and many vegetables, also with cheese and egg dishes. You can also use it in marinades and dressings to give them a unique touch of flavor.

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