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.
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Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a versatile culinary herb, and its attractive aroma makes it suitable for more than just cooking.
This article has some ideas for how to use rosemary if you have an abundance of this fresh herb at the end of the growing season.
>> Related article: How to Harvest Rosemary
1. Use it in 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 meats, sauces, and veggies.
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 rosemary.
- For rosemary mashed potatoes, place a couple of sprigs of rosemary in the pot while you are boiling the potatoes, then retrieve it before mashing the potatoes.
- Add to vegetables before roasting.
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 rosemary cutting, then you are unlikely to have much success growing a new plant. Read on for more ideas on what you can use them 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
If you have a lot of fresh rosemary cuttings, drying them is a great way to store them for future use. Drying fresh rosemary is very straightforward, and can be done with or without the use of a dehydrator.
>>Related post: How to dry rosemary
When drying rosemary (as with other herbs), it is a bad idea to use heat to try and dry them more quickly.
Air drying or using a dehydrator is the best way to preserve the flavor of rosemary. See this post for more on why you should never use heat to dry herbs.
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:
- Wash and dry the rosemary cuttings
- Strip the leaves from the stems
- 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.
- Store in an air tight container. It will be fully infused and good to use after around two weeks.
5. Make rosemary infused olive oil
Another great way to store fresh rosemary is to make infused olive oil.
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.
6. Make 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.
7. 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.
8. 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 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.
9. Make rosemary tea
Rosemary herbal 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 for extra flavor if you like.
Do you have any other tips for using rosemary cuttings? Please let me know in the comments below!
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