Fresh herbs can do so much to enliven cooking, especially in winter. Rosemary is one of those herbs, adding a delicious taste to chicken, pork and potatoes. It just makes sense to grow your own rather than buying those little packets at the grocery store. It is not hard, but there are a few tips that can help you to grow beautiful, fragrant and delicious rosemary.
- Select a location for your rosemary plant that receives at least six hours of sunlight each day and is free of drafts and heat registers.
- Water rosemary regularly. Check the soil every few days by sticking your finger in the soil, not just on top of the soil but actually in. Water when you can feel no moisture on your finger. Rosemary will begin to lose needles if it doesn’t receive regular watering. It prefers consistent watering, instead of going from desert dry conditions to swampy wet soil to desert dry again.
- When purchasing a rosemary plant, check the health of it by running your hand along the needles. A healthy plant will have supple, resilient needles that spring back when touched. It should also have a strong, pine scent. If it has brittle needles or needles that fall off when touched, that indicates a past watering problem.
- To harvest your rosemary plant, remove pieces rosemary by snipping the tips of new growth with a sharp knife or pair of shears.
You can find windowsill sized herb plants including rosemary for $5.00 per pot locally at Klein’s Greenhouse. Klein’s is located at 3758 East Washington Avenue, in Madison, WI, and their phone number is (608) 244-5661. Their website is http://www.kleinsfloral.com/.
Here is one of my favorite ways to use fresh rosemary, Roasted Rosemary Potatoes.
1 1/2 pounds small yellow, red or white-skinned potatoes
1/8 cup olive oil
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh rosemary leaves
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, and rosemary; toss until the potatoes are well coated.
Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and spread out in a single layer; roast in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until browned and crisp.
Flipping once or twice during baking will produce evenly browned potatoes.
Remove the potatoes from the oven, season to taste, and serve.