Rosemary is a wonderfully aromatic herb that grows on the small evergreen shrub Rosmarinus officinalis. A member of the mint family, it has a distinctive woody fragrance and a fresh, bittersweet flavor with hints of lemon and pine.
Rosemary has been a prized seasoning and natural medicine since 500 BC. Part of its popularity stemmed from the widespread belief that the herb strengthened the memory. In ancient Greece, students would place sprigs of rosemary in their hair when studying for exams.
Varieties and Buying Tips
Whole-leaf rosemary is available in fresh and dried forms. When buying fresh, look for sprigs with a clean, fresh fragrance and deep sage green color. Avoid those that are wilting, yellow or brown.
Dried rosemary leaves can be found in your supermarket's spice aisle. These have a stronger, more concentrated flavor than fresh and they lose their pungency rather quickly. Dried rosemary is also sold ground, chopped or crushed.
Fresh: Wrap in a paper towel, seal in a plastic bag and keep refrigerated for up to five days.
Dried: Store in an airtight container away from light and heat for up to six months.
- To use fresh rosemary, strip the leaves and discard the stems.
- To chop, gather the leaves in a tight bunch and cut across with a sharp knife.
- Add fresh rosemary to frittatas and omelets.
- Use crushed dried rosemary to season lamb roasts, meat stews and roasted vegetables.
- Stir rosemary into tomato sauces and soups.
- Season ground beef with rosemary and bake into a meatloaf.
- Purée fresh rosemary with olive oil to make a dipping sauce for crusty bread.
When rosemary is not available, use thyme, tarragon or savory.
Try one of our favorite rosemary recipes:
Garlic and Rosemary Green Beans
BBQ Rosemary Potatoes
Herbed Pork Tenderloin
barbecue, beans, beef, bread, broccoli, chicken, eggplant, fish, lamb, meatloaf, parsnips, pasta, peas, pork, potatoes, tomatoes, turkey