Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis)
Rosemary "dew of the sea" because of its many uses in cooking and easy to grow, should not be lacking in any herb garden. It has been used as seasoning and a medicinal herb since ancient times.
In Italy it is known as "memory herb", probably due to its positive effect on the spirit, but we must also stress its antiseptic effect. Besides a healthy evergreen with some what strange needle leaves makes it an attractive garden plant. It can reach up to two meters in height. In spring the plant has a beautiful blue flowers (there are also some species with purple flowers or roses) and is visited by bees. In soil it grows obviously much better than in a pot. According to my observations the crawling variants' have more essential oils and thus grow more slowly.
Soil: It is best in calcareous soil, therefore do not use pure peat substrate. Egg shells are a nice addition to improve the substrate in a normal soil. Fungi in the soil can easily destroy a plant in especially the greener parts. Recently, I also discovered a wild variant in Spain with long thin needles growing among granite rocks without lime.
Light: Adapts well in the less light.
Multiplication: The plants grow best in spring and can reach 30 cm high. Multiplication by cuttings work best in spring planted in pots or in the ground and avoiding direct sunlight for two to four weeks, until they root sufficiently. Seed reproduction is possible even slower, seeds need a temperature above 20 ° C for germination.
Winter: In pots in cool, dry locations. Many species tolerate frosts, there are even species in the northern areas that stand the cold wintry temperatures up to 20º C below zero.
Uses: Can be used fresh or dry for its essential oils. These oils on contact with air and react chemically and will make any unpleasant taste taste nice. The plant does not mind if branches in small quantities are taken during the year. However, if you must use dried rosemary, take small twigs, dry them and chop just before use.
In the kitchen: Due to its qualities to improve the digestion of fat rosemary it is great for cooking all meats and roasts (especially lamb and pork) and stews. The edible flowers also can be used perfectly in salads. It is also delicious with bacon or fried potatoes with onions, spices and rosemary. In Italy in the Pizza bianca ( pizza baked in the oven with olive oil, coarse salt and rosemary).
Recommendation: The dried stems can be used as skewers on the grill.
In the home: it keep moths away from clothing, and you can hang laundry to dry on the bushes. During the Plague people hung bags of dried rosemary or inhaled the fumes. Even though this did not directly effect the plague, it resulted in the transmitters of the disease (rat fleas) staying away.
Medicinal: For indigestion, depression, muscle or nerve pain and hair loss.