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What to do with Rosemary Cuttings?

Rosemary plants grow fast and require pruning frequently to keep them in good condition. If you have been pruning your herb garden and are wondering what to do with rosemary cuttings, here are some ideas.

Rosemary cutting being taken from a plant in a wooden box.
What to do with rosemary cuttings?

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a versatile culinary herb, and its attractive aroma makes it suitable for more than just cooking.

Whether you grow it at home or bought too much from the grocery store, there are lots of fun ways to use up extra rosemary! This article has some ideas on how to use rosemary if you find your self with an excess of this fresh herb.

>> Related article: How to Harvest Rosemary

1. Use it in cooking

This one sounds obvious, but a great way to use up fresh rosemary is to add it liberally to your cooking!

Rosemary is a versatile herb that can be used for cooking a wide range of dishes. It is an essential component of French cooking, and it can add a robust, earthy flavor to just about any meat, vegetables, or sauces.

To use fresh rosemary in cooking, either strip the leaves off and chop them finely before adding to your dish, or add whole sprigs to a dish while it is cooking – just remember to retrieve them before serving.

Here are some ideas to try:

  • Make rosemary potatoes: add finely chopped rosemary to potatoes, with a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of oil, before roasting in a hot oven.
  • Season a lamb or beef dish with finely chopped rosemary.
  • Season a chicken with chopped rosemary leaves, and add some whole sprigs to the cavity for extra flavor.
  • Use hardwood rosemary stems as kebab skewers. Strip the leaves then thread pieces of steak or lamb, and vegetables onto the stick before grilling.
  • For rosemary mashed potatoes, place a couple of fresh rosemary sprigs in the pot while you are boiling the potatoes, then retrieve it before mashing the potatoes.
  • Add to vegetables before roasting, or place fresh rosemary sprigs in the roasting pan with the veggies while they cook.
Rpasted potatoes with rosemary in a white bowl.

See below for some other ideas for using rosemary to make condiments and spreads.

2. Grow a new rosemary plant

Rosemary is one of the herbs you can grow from cuttings. However, your options for growing a new plant from rosemary cuttings depend on what type of cutting you have.

If you have softwood cuttings (stems are green and pliable) then you can try to propagate rosemary cuttings.

These make a nice gift, but also can be used to create a rosemary border in your garden.

Related post: How to grow rosemary from a cutting.

If you have a hardwood cutting, then you are unlikely to have much success growing a new plant. Read on for more ideas on what you can use hardwood rosemary cuttings for.

2. Keep the cuttings in water

Rosemary cuttings will keep for a long time if you place them in water (just like a bunch of flowers).

If you have a few cuttings this is a great way to keep them fresh if you don’t want to try and grow a new plant and use it all at once.

Just half fill a glass with clean fresh water, stand the cuttings in it (cut end down), and change the water every few days to keep it fresh.

Rosemary cuttings stored like this will stay fresh for several weeks.

>>Related post: How to store fresh rosemary

3. Dry them to store and use later

Dried rosemary on a wooden spoon.

If you have a lot of fresh rosemary cuttings, drying them is a great way to store them for future use. Dried rosemary keeps its flavor well and can be substituted for fresh rosemary in most recipes.

Drying fresh rosemary is very straightforward, and can be done with or without the use of a dehydrator.

>>Related post: How to dry rosemary

Once your rosemary is dry, store it in an airtight container and keep it in a cool dark place (for more see: How to store dried herbs).

4. Make rosemary salt

Rosemary salt is a delicious addition to many recipes. Use when cooking meat and vegetable dishes in place of regular salt. Making rosemary salt is very simple:

  1. Wash and dry the rosemary cuttings
  2. Strip the leaves from the stems
  3. Add to salt of your choice (I like to use kosher salt, flaked salt or fine sea salt). Use a ratio of around 3 parts salt to 1 part rosemary leaves.
  4. Store in an air tight container. It will be fully infused and good to use after around two weeks.

5. Make rosemary sugar

Rosemary sugar is a simple and delicious way to add flavor to your baking and desserts.

Simply add a couple of (clean and dry) rosemary sprigs to a jar of granualted sugar. Use the rosemary sugar in baking, or to sprinkle of tart fresh fruit.

6. Make rosemary infused olive oil

Another great way to store fresh rosemary is to make infused olive oil. This can be a tasty addition to a variety of dishes, and is easy to make.

It is great served with bread for dipping, in salad dressings, or can be used in place of regular olive oil when roasting meat or vegetables.

There are two basic ways to make rosemary-infused olive oil, a cold infusion and a warm infusion:

  • Firstly: wash and thoroughly dry rosemary (use around 2-3 stems per cup of oil).
  • Secondly for cold infusion: place cuttings in a clean airtight bottle or jar, cover with olive oil. Leave to infuse. You can remove the rosemary once the flavor is as strong you like it.
  • Secondly for warm infusion: Gently warm olive in a pan over a low heat. When it is warm, switch off the heat and add the rosemary. Leave the oil infusion to cool, then pour into a clean airtight bottle or jar.
  • Thirdly: Store in a cool dark place and use with 2-3 weeks.

7. Make rosemary butter

A roll of rosemary butter on a wooden board.
Rosemary butter.

Fresh herb butter is so delicious, and rosemary butter is no exception! Slather it on roasted meats or vegetables, or just enjoy it on fresh bread.

See my favorite recipe here: Rosemary butter recipe.

8. Make potpourri

Rosemary has a beautiful pine-like scent and can be used for potpourri.

Dry the stems, then remove the leaves and add dried rose petals, and spices like star anise, cinnamon sticks, and cloves.

9. Make rosemary tea

Rosemary leaf tea is a warming and soothing drink for a cold day.

Place a rosemary sprig or two in a cup, and pour hot water (not boiling) over it. Allow to steep for 3-4 minutes to allow the rosemary oil to release into the water, then remove the rosemary sprig and enjoy.

Add a squeeze of lemon juice or a teaspoon of honey for extra flavor if you like.

10. Make a holiday wreath

Another way to enjoy the woody fragrance of rosemary is to make a traditional Christmas wreath from rosemary. This is easiest if you have long rosemary sprigs.

For small wreaths, bend the rosemary stem around in a circle and secure using ribbon or twine. Or, for a larger wreath, attach rosemary sprigs to a base wreath made out of wire or willow.

See: How to make a rosemary wreath for more details.

Do you have any other tips for using rosemary cuttings? Please let me know in the comments below!