Gardening, growing your own food, and homesteading practices have run in my family (on both sides) for generations.
Growing up I saw my parents, grandma’s, uncles, and aunts all have beautiful yards and beautiful vegetable gardens. Albeit sometimes weedy, seeing those around me interested and dedicated to gardening had a huge impact on my own desires to one day have a garden. I can’t remember my parents growing many herbs, but from the time I “discovered” that I loved soil underneath my fingers and to watch things grow, I have been fascinated with herbs.
Rosemary seems like this herb that is talked about a lot and planted a lot, but no one can actually tell me how they harvested it or what they did with it afterwards. (Besides attempting to dry it and then eventually throwing it away).
Harvesting rosemary is exceedingly simple. Besides harvesting too much, it’s hard to mess it up.
Step 1: Make the Cut
You can harvest 1/3 of the plant at a time. Any more than that and you can stunt or kill the plant. Take 3-4 inches off of a tip and using sharp pruners, cut a piece off.
I use Felco-2 pruners. I have been through about 4 pairs in 6 seasons. 4 of those seasons I hardly used them, so I knew I needed to get a pair that actually worked, and worked well. I’ve now had my Felco pruners for 3 years and have never had an issue with them. They’ve even stayed sharp the whole time. The beautiful thing about the Felco’s is that if you do need to replace anything on them, Felco sells the parts individually so you don’t have to go out and buy a brand new pair every time.
Seriously, one of the best investments I’ve made.
You can go here to buy them if you so desire.
Tie up a group of rosemary and hang to dry, no more than 1 inch thick, as the center of your bundle can mold.
I use zip ties instead of string to keep my cuttings together. It’s just an easy, quick way to bind herbs together without having to hold, tie, make the knot tighter, and hope that when you go to hang them up they all stay together.
I usually let my rosemary dry 2-3 weeks.
Step 2: Strip Dried Rosemary Stems
Going in the opposite direction of growth, slide your hand over the woody stem. If your rosemary is fully cured, it should come off easily. If you notice that your rosemary is still sticky or doesn’t
come off easily, you need to let it dry a bit longer.
Step 3: Crush Leaves
Using a Mortar and Pestle, grind the rosemary down. You can leave it whole if you want, but if you plan to use it in cooking, I would grind it down. It tends to get woody and chewy, and isn’t very pleasant to pick out of your teeth.
I LOVE LOVE LOVE my mortar and pestle. If you want to purchase one, try and get one that is granite or porcelain. Wooden sets absorb and hold flavors, so you really want to try and stay away from them.
Metal sets can give food items a metallic taste.
I purchased this porcelain set online.
I love that I have 3 different sizes. I’ve had mine for 3 years and have no complaints.
Step 4: Store in a Glass Container
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again.
STORE. YOUR. HERBS. IN. GLASS.
You can reuse glass herb jars or jelly jars, or even old pasta and pickle jars. I bought a set of glass herb jars that I love. They stack easily and store well.
But honestly, any glass container will work, I just like my pantry to look organized!
I use rosemary as a culinary herb and as a medicinal herb.
In food, I use fresh and dried rosemary in flat breads, herb breads, chicken, herb butter, and roasted vegetables.
You can also infuse it into olive oil for a wonderful aromatic oil to use in dishes.
Medicinally, rosemary is a super power herb.
Many of rosemary’s medicinal benefits are due to its antioxidant qualities, protecting the cells from damage by toxins.
*Reducing anxiety, elevating mood
*Protects against DNA damage
*Arthritis treatment, anti-inflammatory
*Detoxification of the liver
How do you use rosemary? Comment below and let me know!