Rosemary thrives in hot and humid climates making Australia, especially Queensland perfect for growing at home. I have had much success over the years growing it in my garden with very little care needed.
Not only is the smell of Rosemary a pleasant mix of strong, woody, lavender like fragrance it is also known to improve memory. My eldest son loves the smell and often picks some fresh sprigs to hang in his room and the improving memory part never hurts while studying for exams.
Best planted in a sunny, well drained soiled area Rosemary can grow up to a metre in height, keeping this in mind when planting. Watering the plant when the soil is dry making sure not to over water this will cause the soil to become soggy and can lead to root rot.
Rosemary doesn’t have to just be grown in a garden either, a terracotta pot or container is also convenient if you don’t have a outdoor garden. Making sure the same rules apply. Sitting near a window that has direct sunlight for majority of the day is ideal. Growing from a small starter plant is most easiest way to plant Rosemary, it also doesn’t need much fertiliser just maybe in the early growth of the planting cycle.
Cutting Rosemary- Best times to harvest Rosemary is in Spring and Summer when their leaves are meant to have the most oil and flavour. But I find whenever my bush is becoming full I cut off the taller mature stems, try not to cut the smaller newer stems. Don’t cut too much at once either, leave at least 3/4 of the bush to keep growing.
Drying & Storing Rosemary
Tie some string around the bottom stems of the bunch or bunches and hang in cool, dry area of the house out of direct sunlight. Direct sun will burn the leaves and diminish the herbs flavour and nutrients.
Leave for at least 3-4 can be up to 10 days for drying, making sure they are completely dry before storing, otherwise mold and mildew can grow. Strip the stems from the leaves and place in clean sterilised jars in the pantry. Dried Rosemary lasts a long time but is best used within a year for the best flavour.
Uses For Rosemary
While we all know that Rosemary is well used in culinary practices to flavour dishes such as meats,vegetables, stews and soups, but did you know that Rosemary has some amazing medicinal and therapeutic uses. It is a anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, diaphoretic and stimulant making Rosemary a very useful herb to have in your home garden. Known to balance blood sugar levels, support the heart, brain and lungs and warms the body as it increases blood flow.
Making your own rosemary oils, infusions and tinctures are some alternate ways in using this versatile plant.
I’ll be experimenting more in the coming weeks making sure to share some DIY recipes with you.