Rosemary is a half-hardy perennial.
It can be planted outside in this area in mid-to-late April.
Although most herbs prefer to be on the dry side, when planting rosemary, water the hole first.
This plant needs excellent drainage, a sunny location and protection from cold winds.
The leaf is resinous, leathery, needle-like and dark green.
It usually grows 3 to 6 feet high with squarish stems which turn "woody" after the second year.
Rosemary was called by some "Dew of the Sea."
It was used by cooks for seasoning from the earliest times, has the reputation for strengthening the memory and had become the emblem of fidelity for lovers. Brides worewreaths of rosemaryrichly gilded and tied with ribbon of all kinds and colors.
In times past, resinous rosemary was burned in sick chambers to purify the air.
During the Plague of 1665, it was carried in pouches and in the handles of walking sticks to be sniffed when traveling through suspicious neighborhoods.
Today, rosemary is grown for hedges. In some Mediterranean villages, linens can be seen draped over the hedges as the sun extracts the scent of the moth repellent aroma.
Its aromatic use today is in potpourri and in linen closets where sprigs are placed between the sheets and towels.
Some varieties of rosemary are supposed to survive winter.
However, in this area, if brought in after Thanksgiving, rosemary can be container-grown in a sunny window.
Rosemary can be harvested all year. It is best to pick small amounts before flowering.
Dried sprigs can be cut and the leaves stripped off before storing.
The aroma, however, is stronger if the leaves are crushed just before use. The dried squarish shaped stems can be used for barbecue skewers.
Cut branches can be rinsed and placed in plastic bags and stored in the freezer for later use in soups, stews, sauces, baked potatoes and herb butter for vegetables.
The uses for rosemary are endless.
Add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh rosemary to your favorite lemon cake or cupcake recipe for a light flavorful treat.
(Reference: Complete Book of Herbs by Lesley Bremness.)
Try this recipe:
Rosemary lemon cupcakes
Mini: 350 degrees for 15 to 18 minutes; Regular: 350 degrees for 22 minutes
cup softened butter
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon lemon extract
2 teaspoons lemon zest
3 tablespoons lemon juice
Let butter and eggs stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Combine flour, rosemary, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, heat butter for 30 seconds in microwave.
Add sugar, lemon extract and vanilla. Beat 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Spoon batter into lined cupcake pans. Makes 30 mini cupcakes or 15 large. When cool, frost with lemon glaze.