by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
Rosemary is a hardy mountain evergreen shrub that’s easy to grow out of doors and even easier to use indoors. Prized in the culinary world for its flavorful leaves, rosemary also has a pleasant, very distinctive fragrance, and early spring beauty with its show of lavender flowers. There are so many ways to use rosemary from the garden, that I culled ideas from the plant ambassadors here at Watters Garden Center. Our ten favorite things to do with rosemary are listed here:
#1 Food – Cooking with rosemary tops the list. And, you can use rosemary in recipes with almost any other ingredients. It goes well with poultry, lamb, stews, soups, breads, crackers, cookies, nuts, vegetables, jams, and jellies.
#2 Tasty Drinks – There are many great drinks made with rosemary. Add rosemary to water, hot tea, lemonade, and cocktails.
#3 BBQ Skewer – A fun way to use rosemary for grilling is to remove the leaves and use the woody stems as a skewer. It infuses flavor into your ingredients while you are grilling. And, don’t throw away the leaves; mix those in with your marinades!
#4 Basting Brush – Infuse a little extra flavor to riling or roasting meats by creating a rosemary basting brush with rosemary. Cut 6 – 8 stems of woody branches at least 10 inches long. Remove a third of the leaves at the bottom of the branch. Tie together with cooking twine and use to brush on marinades.
#5 Infused Olive Oil – Snip 4 or 5 stems of rosemary and simmer in a cup of olive oil over medium heat for five to seven minutes. Let the rosemary and oil fusion cool, then pour it into a bottle. Seal the bottle and enjoy the beauty and flavor of your homemade gift to yourself. Friends also will be impressed by your homemade gift to them.
#6 Centerpieces – Rosemary cones and topiaries make great centerpieces for parties and holiday gatherings. Just place them in a decorative container and add a bow.
#7 Decorations – There are many ways to use this winter evergreen indoors during the holidays. We love using it at the table to spread fragrant cheer at a place setting or as a napkin ring.
#8 Container Gardens – Rosemary is beautiful in container gardens. Trailing varieties look great spilling over the edges of their pots, and upright varieties give pots some height. Plant them alone or mix them with other herbs and flowers. Rosemary loves hot weather, and Summer is a good time to plant one in your garden.
#9 Landscaping – Rosemary is a superior mountain landscape shrub. A low water user, this evergreen is deer resistant and requires less maintenance than other hardy landscaping plants. There are upright varieties that add evergreen structure against hot walls and soften rock lawns. Watters also sells ground cover varieties for planting in troubled spots; they look great spreading between boulders and spilling over raised beds.
#10 Fragrance – Rosemary has a beautiful scent. Add it to a simmering pot of water for an herbal fragrance that exceeds that of scented candles. Your home will smell of a heavenly garden, an asset for every home in mid-winter.
Until next week, I’ll be hanging around the rosemary here at Watters Garden Center.
Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his website at WattersGardenCenter.com or FB.com/WattersGardenCenter