Adding fresh herbs to your kitchen creations can be delicious and simple and offer health benefits! In this blog, I want to discuss a simple herb – ROSEMARY – that is easy to grow and add to recipes.
I LOVE the smell of rosemary and seeing it in my summer herb garden always brings a warm smile. It is easy to grow, even in a Zone 5 cooler climate such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and it is pretty to look at too!
Rosemary is an herb that grows as a small shrub. Its leaves, which look like tiny pine needles, are most commonly used to season cooked dishes.
Not only is Rosemary a delicious cooking herb, but it may also have some health benefits, such as helping to reduce inflammation along the gastrointestinal tract. It is also a powerful antioxidant, and has a long history of being used for preserving foods. You may notice in some processed foods the ingredient “rosemary extract” – that most likely isn’t for flavor, but rather for its preservation properties.
Traditionally, rosemary has been used for indigestion and to help with poor fat digestion. Things like gas, bloating, and loose and greasy stools may be signs that your body is having difficulty digesting fat. Of course, minimizing fat in the diet can be beneficial and eating “healthy fats” like whole foods such as avocados or olives. Good fat in the diet is necessary, but only in moderation!
Rosemary may have pre-biotic properties and enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria. While helping with the GOOD bacteria, it may also inhibit the pathogenic bacteria that are associated with colorectal diseases.
Even just taking in the aroma of rosemary can be beneficial and may enhance the mood. Try running your hands over the leaves, cup your hands over your nose, and inhale deeply. Some people say this gives them a fresher, more alert feeling! I love the aroma and it always makes me smile.
To cook with rosemary, first wash and dry it with paper towels and then pull the needle leaves off the thick stems. You’ll notice that the leaves are a bit sticky, and that is okay! Next, finely chop the rosemary. A little goes a long way, so you don’t need much of this powerful herb. 1 – 2 tablespoons of finely chopped rosemary can season 4 chopped potatoes that you can roast in the oven with a little high-quality extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Leftover fresh rosemary can stay fresh in the fridge for about a week.
Finely chopped fresh rosemary makes a great addition to salad dressings. It can also enhance the flavor of a broth or tomato-based soup, or pasta sauce. If you don’t have fresh rosemary available, using dried rosemary from a jar works well too; and you need even less of the dried vs. the fresh for flavor enhancement.
Enjoy your rosemary creations!