Rosemary: Why I Love This Herb and What I Do With It

Rosemary: Why I Love This Herb and What I Do With It

I have a confession to make, and I'm a little bit embarrassed by it.

Here goes...

Until about 6 years ago, I didn't know anything about herbs.

Nothing. Not a single thing.

I didn't know they could be used for natural healing.

I didn't know how to use them in recipes (unless a specific recipe called for something like that, and even then I just took it out of the spice rack, somewhat clueless as to its purpose.)

I didn't know their oils were beneficial for cleaning, calming, soothing, or healing.

I had no idea they could be so useful in everyday life! Or so enjoyable!

I didn't know these things because nobody taught me. Herbs were never a part of my upbringing.

While I was actively involved in helping with and cooking many of the meals in our home when I was younger, I was never really taught anything about cooking with fresh herbs. In fact, looking back I can say my mom probably didn't know much about them either. She planted a garden every year, but never planted herbs - at least not that I remember.

So the very first herb I learned about and fell in love with some thirty years later was Rosemary. Strange that I'd choose that one given how overly strong its scent can be.

I blame The Pioneer Woman. 😀

She has a Perfect Pot Roast recipe that is SO unbelievably delicious, and smells amazing when it's cooking. Why does it smell so amazing and taste so great? Could be the red wine. I do love wine! Or it could be the marbles of fat in the Chuck Roast adding to the yummy aroma. But really, I think it's both of those combined with the sprigs of fresh rosemary tossed in on top.

Just thinking about it makes me want to add that recipe to my meal plan for this week!

Anyway, once I discovered the power of cooking with fresh herbs, I was hooked and fascinated and wanted to learn more about all of them. So each year I add a new herb or two to my list of things to plant in my garden. This most recent gardening season I planted Dill, Oregano, Basil, Parsley, Cilantro, Peppermint, Sage, Thyme, Chives, and of course lots of Rosemary!

As I watch them grow, I do a little research, find new recipes to try with them and learn as much as I can about what to do with the bountiful harvest. My daughters eagerly watch and learn right alongside me, so I know they'll be well informed on the matter before heading out into the world on their own.

My sweet youngest loves to head out to the garden with me, scissors and bowl in hand, ready to harvest something. Anything!

While I look closely at my plants to see what's ready and what's been eaten by local bunnies, she's checking out the herbs and asking, "Mom, can I take a sprig of this Cilantro and taste it?" Or, "Mom, what does this Rosemary taste like? Can I just eat one of the leaves?" By the way, in both cases she quickly spit them out. 😀

So, what's so great about Rosemary?

  • Rosemary Helps Control Garden Pests

The best control of garden pests when using Rosemary or any other herb is through companion planting, which means you plant the particular herb very close to a plant that attracts pests that don't like the taste or smell of that herb.

For example, Rosemary repels cabbage moths, bean beetles, and carrot flies. But only if it's planted very close to cabbage, beans or carrots.

My herbs this year are all planted in large round containers in the middle of my garden space, so they're not in the ground next to the veggies. A fail on my part, but it works out well from a spacing and organization standpoint. There's no right or wrong. It's all a matter of preferance.

  • Rosemary Smells Delicious During Cooking

Rosemary is uniquely fragrant. As I mentioned earlier, there is nothing I love more than to breath in the aroma of Rosemary cooking over a Chuck Roast in the oven or the crockpot.

There are also many potpourri recipes that incorporate the use of Rosemary in them, and they smell oh so good! What's even better about these recipes is that there are no synthetic chemicals involved. It's just all-natural goodness making our house smell like a home.

I even love the smell of Rosemary while it's still in the soil. I don't know. Call me weird!

  • Rosemary is Easy to Grow and Attractive in a Garden

Rosemary is super simple to grow. I've never had a problem getting a nice big harvest worth when I plant Rosemary.

Actually, I clip it off so fast to use in the kitchen that I've learned to plant more than just one plant for our family's needs. This year I planted three!

For whatever reason, I always plant my Rosemary in a large container sitting in an area with plenty of sunlight and rain. It even handles well in the wind, and lasts long into the cooler Fall months.

While Rosemary is considered a Perennial, in Western PA where I live, our winters have gotten too cold and snowy for my plants to come back year after year. I've had to replace them with a new plant each Spring.

I'm sure I might see a different result if I planted the Rosemary in the ground as opposed to a container. I've had the same problem with my strawberry plants in years past as well, so this year those went into the ground. I'm hopeful they'll come back next Spring!

I love the look of Rosemary, too. It kind of reminds me of a cross between a pine tree and a cactus. 😀 Very interesting and attractive!

  • Rosemary Pairs Well With Meat and Wine

There are so many recipes out there where Rosemary is a fragrant and delicious flavor enhancer. I use it when cooking whole roasted chicken, steaks, pot roast, salmon, and even in homemade breads. It's even delicious seasoning for potatoes, butternut squash, carrots, and a variety of soups.

Whenever I prepare a beef dish with Rosemary herb seasoning, my husband and I always enjoy a glass of wine with that particular meal. It's just so good! And red wine is super healthy, too! If you'd like to know what a few of our favorite red wines are, just leave me a comment and I'll be sure to share. 🙂

  • Rosemary is Good for You

There are numerous health benefits of Rosemary and Rosemary oil. Not only does it contain antibacterial and antioxidant properties, but it's full of vitamins and minerals, too.

It's a good source of calcium, iron, B6, copper, magnesium, potassium, and is an excellent source of fiber, to name just a few things. You can read more about the health benefits of Rosemary here.

Rosemary oil can be used to help relieve stomach cramps, gassiness, indigestion, and bloating. Regular use of Rosemary oil in your hair care routine can help stimulate follicles making hair grow longer and stronger.

Cortisol, the main hormone released by the body during stress can lead to an imbalance of the endocrine system and other hormones. The very scent of Rosemary essential oils can have a cortisol-decreasing benefit to the body. This would have been good to know when I was struggling with adrenal fatigue!

I have not used Rosemary oil in my home or for health purposes yet, but plan to do so in the future, as needed. You can read more about Rosemary oil here.

One thing is for sure, I will definitely continue cooking with fresh rosemary often!

What do you think about this? I'd love for you to share your thoughts!

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Rosann Cunningham

Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and Author at Rosann Cunningham
Rosann is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach specializing in hormone health. She is also a fitness junkie, with a specific passion for mixed martial arts style kickboxing and is trained in Krav Maga - a military self-defense fighting system. After a Hashimotos diagnosis which turned out to be a very wrong call, Rosann became her own health advocate and fought her way back to optimal health and wellness. She is determined to help her clients dig deep to find the root cause of their hormone health struggles, so they too, can thrive and live the abundant life of health and happiness they deserve. Rosann believes nobody should be a victim in life or in their health, so in her coaching practice she loves to integrate a martial arts style and sense of accountability.

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