Originally widespread in the Mediterranean, rosemary has since made its way into our gardens and balconies. The plant manages to give its surroundings an exotic and Mediterranean flair with ease. The stimulating effect of the leaves and shoots of the mint family are world-famous and are preferred for the preparation of fish and meat. Harvesting and drying your own rosemary is easy. With the right instructions, you can easily preserve a larger supply of the aromatic and healthy herbs for the kitchen.
Table of Contents
- Rosemary belongs to the mint family.
- The name “ros marinus” freely translated means “sea dew”.
- The evergreen plant can reach a height of up to 2 m.
- The bushy growing plant smells aromatic and has narrow linear leaves.
- Used as a substitute for frankincense centuries ago.
- The mint is widespread in the Mediterranean region and occurs in the wild.
- The light blue to pink flowers are up to 12 mm long and can appear all year round.
- Rosemary is easy to propagate from seeds and cuttings.
The sun-loving subshrub in the garden
Rosemary is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine. Fish and meat are refined as well as potatoes and other vegetables. The subshrub is mainly known as a spice in modern times. The pleasure of rosemary spice not only pampers the taste buds. The ingredients work against bloating and flatulence. Just the thing after a large and fatty meal. The traditional roots of the Mediterranean plant go back well into antiquity. Wedding couples wore wreaths made of rosemary. In ancient Greece, the plant was a symbol of love and loyalty. The Mediterranean plant was dedicated to the goddess of love Aphrodite. These rites have lost their importance. But not the use of rosemary in the kitchen and medicine. The herb unfolds its full taste when fresh. It is a lucky coincidence that the heat and light hungry plant feels good in our latitudes and thrives in abundance. Maintenance is straightforward. Here are some things to consider when caring for rosemary:
- Full sun location
- Sandy-dry substrate
- Pour only moderately
- Apply drainage to plants in the tub
In regions with mild winter, the mint survives the cold season unscathed outdoors. If care and location are right, this has a positive effect on the characteristic taste of the aromatic plant parts. The intense taste can only develop in the leaves if the up to 2 m high subshrub receives enough sunlight every day. Too much moisture in the substrate and over-fertilization also reduce the aroma of the medicinal and aromatic plant.
Tip : The rosemary oil stimulates the circulation, has an invigorating effect and promotes blood circulation in the skin.
Tips for a good harvest
The harvest of the rosemary needles also serves to care for the entire plant. A regular pruning encourages bushy sprouting of shoots . The actual rejuvenation cut is made radically at the end of August or immediately after flowering. This measure ensures that the shoots remain aromatic. If you don’t want to wait that long, you can harvest the plant between April and August . Rosemary is evergreen, but takes a rest phase in autumn and winter. In regions with mild winter, you can harvest the plant during these months. The taste of the leaves is poor compared to the summer harvest. If the rosemary lacks the necessary winter protection or if the plant is exposed to high sub-zero temperatures and freezing, the pruning at this time of the year can be harmful.
The right time to harvest also depends on the time of day. This has little to do with a myth and is not based on esoteric foundations. Rather, it is the metabolism of the plant that puts the time stamp on you. In the morning the rosemary is in full juice . As the heat rises in the afternoon, the “cell sap level” in the plant drops again, which can have a negative effect on the taste and aroma. If you want to dry the Mediterranean vegetation, you should consider the following tips.
- Use a sharp knife or scissors for the cut.
- The harvest takes place from morning to noon .
- The dew must be dry .
- Only the best parts of the plant are cut.
If it rains or is wet and cold, you should postpone the harvest for a few days. It would be ideal if the grass is completely dry. This gives you the characteristic aroma of rosemary and prevents mold formation on the damp leaves. The old wood as well as the buds and young shoot tips should not be damaged during harvest.
Tip : Rosemary that is consumed on the same day can be freshly cut at any time. During the flowering period, the herb is said to have a special taste.
Prepare rosemary properly
Various options are available to preserve the popular culinary herb with its intense aroma for a longer period of time. Many passionate hobby cooks appreciate that they always have access to a large supply of rosemary for seasoning and refining dishes. You can dry individual leaves or entire shoots of the evergreen subshrub. Only flawless, undamaged parts of the plant are used for preservation. Avoid weak and pest-infested pieces. Further processing is not worthwhile here. There are different methods of preserving rosemary needles and sprigs. One variant is to dry the harvested parts of the plant. The Mediterranean plant has a great advantage over other aromatic plants: even when dry, rosemary does not lose any of its aroma . This allows you to harvest the plant in summer and use it to season your Christmas roast in winter. Further preservation measures consist of freezing and soaking in oil .
Storing it in the freezer saves you a lot of preparation. You can freeze individual needles as well as entire shoots. When frozen, the leaves peel off the branches more easily. In order to be soaked in oil, the parts of the plant must be completely dry. Prepare the rosemary needles or shoots immediately after harvesting. Like other herbs, the Mediterranean plant is not washed . The essential oils are soluble in water and evaporate. Thoroughly remove any debris such as cobwebs and dead leaves.
In order to dry rosemary properly and prevent mold growth, there are a few things you need to consider. The environment must be dry and warm . Temperatures between 20 and 27 ° C are ideal. A basement can meet the requirements as well as an attic and the pantry . The process can take a few weeks. Do not lose patience and regularly check the parts of the plant. Rosemary can be dried the traditional way. For this purpose, complete shoots are tied together to form loose bouquetsand hung upside down. Ideally, the rosemary bouquets hang freely in the room and can dry out evenly from all sides. If you do not have this opportunity, move the plant parts every 2 to 3 days .
You can also dry loose leaves and shoots on an absorbent surface. Here, for example, has proven itself:
- Hand or kitchen towel
- Fine sieve
If you don’t have a lot of patience and want to speed up the entire process, rosemary can be dried in the oven.
- Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper .
- Place the rosemary on top and spread flat.
- Oven to 50 ° C preheat .
- Put the tray with the fresh shoots in the middle of the oven.
- Clamp a piece of wood or a wooden spoon in the door to prevent it from closing completely.
- Moisture can escape through the gap and the air can circulate.
- Gently mix the plant parts every 1 to 1 ½ hours .
- After about 4 to 6 hours , the rosemary will be completely dry.
Tip : You can dry and preserve large quantities of herbs with an automatic dehydrator.
When the leaves and stems are brittle and can no longer be bent, the drying process is complete . For storage in an airtight container , the needles are first separated from the woody shoots. Now is the best time to crush the rosemary. If the plant parts are cut or ground while they are fresh , the aromatic ingredients evaporate . The dried rosemary is stored in an airtight container. Sunlight can reduce the shelf life of the spice. For this reason, choose a dark, cool room.
A variety of original gift ideas can be conjured up from the Mediterranean plant. For example, mix rosemary with coarse sea salt in a ratio of 1: 5. The essential ingredients of the plant give the salt a spicy note. Another option: Put freshly dried sprigs of rosemary in olive oil and let this mixture ripen in a dark place for about 2 weeks.
Rosemary is an aromatic herb and it is hard to imagine Mediterranean cuisine without it. Cultivating the evergreen plants in the garden and on the windowsill is simple. Harvesting and drying the tasty leaves or needles of the useful and medicinal herbs is just as easy.