Rosemary – The Herb With The Pleasantly Astringent Taste
Rosemary is an herb of the Lamiaceae family also known as the Mint family. The herb is a perennial that is hardy and sun loving, and has two main varieties, one an upright plant Rosmarinus officinalis and a low growing prostrate variety called Rosmarinus prostratus.
The silvery green needle-like leaves have flowers which are a lovely blue in color give off an aroma that has a hint of eucalyptus, is pine-like and minty. The taste is peppery, woodsy, and herbal.
The herb originated in the Mediterranean and is cultivated in nearly every country around the Mediterranean. Its botanical name ros (dew) and marinus (sea) describes the seacoast area where it grew extensively.
The herb is believed to have been introduced to England by the Romans, and is cultivated in Mexico and The United States. The herb was used for medicinal purposes in the Middle Ages as a hair restorer.
The dried herb has a very hard texture and takes a while to soften up so it is recommended that fresh herb be purchased or grown. The fresh herb will last for about a week when stored in water, and will keep for months in the freezer when wrapped in foil and sealed in a freezer bag.
The powdered herb maintains its potency better than expected and often better than the dried.
The herb works well with starchy foods such as breads, potatoes, and meats such as beef, chicken, pork, lamb, rabbit and duck.
The herb also contains flavonoids and other substances that may stimulate the immune system, improve digestion and increase circulation.
For additional information about rosemary click on the link to Wikipedia.org
For some great sections on herbs and spices some great references are:
• The Spice and Herb Bible – Second Edition by Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill
• The Food Encyclopedia by Jacques L. Rolland and Carol Sherman with other contributors
• Field Guide to Herbs & Spices by Aliza Green
• The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices – Seasonings For The Global Kitchen by Tony Hill
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