Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rosemary - The Cable Guy's Favorite Herb

Rosemary has inconspicuous blue flowers in early spring

This rosemary thinks it is on a hillside in Italy

But it's up against a south facing foundation on Long Island

     I never had much luck coaxing rosemary to winter over in my yard.  I usually had to replace it when spring arrived.  No matter where I put it, it would succumb to our up and down temperatures here on Long Island.  I tried taking it into the house in a pot but that never worked either.  I had  no sunny southern exposure  and it always languished all winter and then croaked sometime in March.

     Until one year when I noticed a small speck of dirt against the foundation of the house that faced south and had a slight cut-away, giving protection from two sides.  I figured, "what have I got to lose," and I tucked the rosemary in that corner on a crisp fall day.  It has flourished there ever since, growing every which way and although it is not the most beautiful shrub I've ever seen, it has stayed alive for many years, yielding enough leaves for my own needs and anyone else who wants some and prompting a comment from the cable guy whenever he is working on my wires which are on the house behind the plant.  
"What is that wonderful smelling plant growing on the corner of your foundation?" 
     I dry rosemary and use it in all the usual recipes.  It is especially good with poultry and is a must add to my turkey herbal rub on Thanksgiving.  I use it with garlic and  sage  and a bit of olive oil to rub on a pork roast before putting it into the oven.  

 I especially love to grind some dried rosemary with black pepper, pour a good olive oil over it and serve it for dipping with a good loaf of French or Italian bread.  It also goes in my favorite Christmas yeast bread recipe. (Remind me to post that wonderful recipe at Christmas.)

  Rosemary tea is useful as a hair rinse after shampoo and is especially good for brunettes.  It makes the hair look shiny and feel clean.

  Rosemary is said to be for remembrance , for digestion (read flatulence) and for the pain of arthritis and so it makes a good tea for the elderly.  Pour 8-12 oz. of  boiling water over a teaspoon of rosemary leaves and brew for 10 minutes and strain.  Serve with a bit of honey and lemon.  And it tastes good, so don't wait until you are 'elderly' to try some!

  Like many herbs, there are a few  legends about rosemary.  The most famous is the legend that rosemary flowers were white until  Mary, while fleeing to Egypt with the Christ Child, hung her cloak on a rosemary bush and from that time on, the rosemary bloomed blue.  


Today's Take-Away -  If you can find a corner of the garden sheltered in winter, and facing the southern sun, you can grow rosemary.



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