The name translates as “dew of the sea”, this herb is native to the Mediterranean loves sandy well draining soil and lots of sun. It has been used forever in the kitchen as well as in the medicine cabinet. The plant has woody stems and very narrow leaves resembling pine needles. The tiny flowers are usually a light pink or blue color. The essential oils contain stimulants helpful with circulation, and digestion.
Growing Rosemary is quite easy but does require a little attention. . A full sun spot is best with well draining soil and moderate amounts of water, but here’s the kicker, the full sun spot needs to have cool temperatures. But the temperatures of the north do kill it over winter. I like to keep one plant in a pot and bring it in the fall.
Rosemary can be propagated by root cutting or by burying a stem as you would lavender. I don’t tend to bother too much with this because I have to start fresh every season anyway. But it is possible and does work well.
Harvesting Rosemary is pretty straight forward too. Cut the stems, and either store them in the refrigerator between damp towels or hang to dry. Once dried the leaves or needles can be stripped of the stem and stored in an air tight container.
Rosemary has been used for centuries as a healing herb too. An infusion of leaves, fresh or dried, helps migraines and indigestion. The essential oil made into a balm works wonders as a muscle relaxer, helps aches and pains and poor circulation.
Rosemary Olives with French Bread
Infused Olive Oil – Using a heavy bottomed pan sauté 1 clove of garlic (minced) until golden brown. Strain the garlic from the oil, saving the garlic. In a glass bottle or jar place a couple sprigs of fresh rosemary, a few whole peppercorns and the garlic. Fill the jar with olive oil and cover. Let this sit in a dark spot for about a week.
Add any of your favorite olives and let them marinade in the oil for a few days. Use the oil as a dipping oil for the French bread below or as a part of salad dressing or any other application you desire.
Tim’s French Bread
Personally I love a great crusty baguette, but sometimes, I don’t have two days to make it. When I still owned the bakery, I had a customer named Tim. He was so pleasant to talk to, he always bought his wife a few molasses cookies and himself a dessert or two. He was also in search a great French bread; not the crusty baguette I made daily. He wanted a softer crusted bread with a chewy crumb. I tried and tried and he was so patient trying each loaf until finally I came up with the recipe he deemed perfect. Since then he has passed away but this will always be Tim’s recipe.
It’s very basic, using white flour that I’m not overly fond of using but I will admit for white French bread it is pretty good.