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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Rosemary

Rosemary:

About:

Rosemary, Rosarinus officinalis, is a woody perennial herb with  fragrant evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers native to the Mediterranean region.  It is a member of the mint family, Labiatae.  Its leaves look like flat pine-tree needles deep green on top and silver white on the underside.  Rosemary has a unique pine-like fragrant flavor that is balanced by a rich pungency,  a combination that evokes both forest and sea. 


Uses:

Rosemary is used as a decorative plant in gardens and has many culinary and medicinal uses.   Rosemary leaves are used as a flavoring in foods such as stuffings, and roast lamb, pork, chicken, and turkey.  The leaves, both fresh and dried, are used in Italian cuisine..  Herbal tea can be made from the leaves.  Rosemary oil is used for purposes of fragrant bodily perfumes or to emit an aroma into a room.  It is also burned as incense and used in shampoos and cleaning products.  

History:

According to legend rosemary was draped around the Greek goddess Aphrodite when she rose from the sea.  The Virgin Mary is said to have spread her blue cloak over a white-blossomed rosemary bush when she was resting and the flowers turned blue. The shrub then became known as the "Rose of Mary".  Rosemary has a very old reputation for improving memory and has been used as a symbol of remembrance during weddings, war commemorations, and funerals in Europe and Australia.

Nutritional Content:

Rosemary is high in iron, calcium and vitamin B6.  It is also a good source of vitamin A.  Rosemary contains a number of potentially biologically active compounds including antioxidants.  Rosemary contains substances that are useful for stimulating the immune system, increasing circulation, and improving digestion.  It has been shown to increase blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. 

Medicinal Uses:

Rosemary is used for digestive problems including:
  • heartburn
  • intestinal gas 
  • liver complains
  • gall bladder complains
  • loss of appetite
It is also used for gout, cough, headache, high blood pressure, and age-related memory loss.
Rosemary is used topically for:
  • preventing and treating  baldness
  • treating circulation problems
  • toothache
  • eczema
  • joint or muscle pain such as sciatica, myalgia, & intercostal neuralgia
Rosemary is used as antiseptic and anticellulite, wound healing, in bath therapy and as an insect repellent.  

Selection and Storage:

Whenever possible choose fresh rosemary over dried for its superior flavor.  The sprigs should look vibrantly fresh and should be deep sage green, and free from yellow or dark spots.  Store fresh rosemary in the refrigerator wither in its original package or a slightly damp paper towel, where it will keep for several days.  Dried rosemary should be kept in a tightly sealed container in a cool, dark, and dry place, where it will keep fresh about 6 months.

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.

Serving Ideals:

  • Add rosemary to omelets and frittatas
  • Use rosemary to flavor chicken and lamb dishes
  • Add rosemary to tomato sauces and soups
  • Puree rosemary with olive oil as a dipping sauce for bread
  • Add rosemary to just about any vegetable for roasting, especially potatoes
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