Rosemary (for remembrance)

I just remembered that I’d better clip some rosemary to dry for the winter before it gets any colder outside! Fall is a good time to dry rosemary or bring it inside. It can be a great addition to fall foods like soups, squash, pumpkin, warm breads, and even baked apples! I guess that’s why I associate rosemary with fall — my favorite season.

Some of the happiest memories I have with my kids are from fall activities. A tradition we always enjoyed (and still do) was the annual apple and pumpkin picking trip. We started them out young:

And the tradition now continues with the grandkids:

Speaking of memories, did you know that rosemary is often called the herb of remembrance? It has long been associated with memory, loyalty, love, and friendship. That’s why rosemary is often used in wedding arrangements and boutonnieres.  In ancient times rosemary was woven into a wreath worn by brides, and was a symbol of love and fidelity. Guests were given a sprig of rosemary, sometimes gilded, and tied with ribbons.

Did you know…

• According to Sir Thomas Moore (1478-1575), “Where Rosemary flourished, the woman ruled.” (1)
• Rosemary was often used to flavor ale and wine and as such could be used as a skin toner, a cough syrup, and a shield against evil spirits.
• It was burned in hospitals to disinfect the air, and the ashes were used as an antibacterial to brush teeth.
• In Shakespearean times, rosemary was given as a New Year’s gift.
• Legend has it that the Virgin Mary found shelter among rosemary while fleeing from Egypt with the baby Jesus.
• It seems that rosemary is also a favorite hiding place for young fairies!

As I mentioned earlier, rosemary is a great herb for your kitchen cabinet.  It pairs well with root vegetables, chickpeas, chicken, lamb, and even berries. I experimented with it in many of my Fall Detox recipes. Combine rosemary with turmeric and pepper for a super detox spice mix to use in hearty fall soups.

Rosemary is also a useful herb for your herbal medicine cabinet. Make rosemary tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary in a cup of water for about 10 minutes. This tea can be used to help with colds, fevers, headaches, fatigue, depression, indigestion, and inflammation. In fact, herbalists say that rosemary tea can be as effective as aspirin for headaches and joint pain. It also makes a great rinse for hair, scalp, prevention of baldness, and clear skin.

Rosemary holds its own as a dried herb, but if you want fresh rosemary all year, you can bring your plant indoors, even though it’s not always pleased about it. I will typically leave my outdoor rosemary to survive or not and just buy a new rosemary plant for indoors. If you have rosemary in a pot and want to bring it inside, you’ll need to gently introduce her to your indoor space by bringing her in for short periods at a time during the coolest part of the evening. Then slowly lengthen the time spent inside until she’s there to stay. All of your plants will benefit from this treatment, but none as much as rosemary. And remember, you will still need to check the soil and determine the best indoor watering schedule to allow the soil to dry out before watering again, but not for too long.

(1)Grieve, A Modern Herbal (©1931)

©Bobbi Mullins, October 17, 2021