Varieties of Rosemary
As far as use in cooking is concerned, it does not matter greatly which variety
of rosemary you use. However, from a garden point of view there are upright
varieties and ground cover varieties.
In addition, there are a number of flower
colours available and different varieties grow to different heights, some up to
The original rosemary variety is Rosmarinus officinalis
and this is a good upright one to choose if you want the traditional variety. It
grows to about 1m (3ft) tall. Its a slow grower but it will eventually become
too woody. If you prefer to go for one the other varieties, then a good dwarf
variety (10cm / 4in) is Rosemary Capri. Suitable for the very smallest garden,
this variety also does well in a window box.
Rosemary Genes Gold is a
compact plant that does not become unwieldy. It is variegated with
yellow edged leaves. Prostrate Rosemary is a good ground cover variety
which looks great growing over the edge of a window box. Left to its own
devices it will grow to a height of around 5cm (12in). Another good
creeping variety is Severn Sea which also grows to about 5cm (12in) and
has lovely dark blue flowers. This variety is not fully frost hardy so
it needs protection and a climate without deep frosts.
If you really want an
unusual and hard to find variety go for "Silver Spires". The foliage has
silver coloured edges and blue flowers. On the internet we found it was
available on the following website:
Cooking With Rosemary
Rosemary can used fresh or dried for cooking, but it's best picked from the
garden and used within a day or so. If kept in the fridge, fresh rosemary will
last about a week. It enhances the taste of many meats and vegetables including
lamb, veal, pork, chicken and more exotically rabbit. When roasting meat simply
place a sprig or two of rosemary on top as it cooks. If you are traditionally
roasting lamb, cut about ten 2cm (1in) lengths of rosemary stem and insert them
into small cuts in the meat before roasting. The flavour is delicious!
It is often added to stuffings to give a strong flavour. Simply strip
the leaves from the stem, chop them up finely and add to the stuffing.
Rosemary imparts a superb flavour when the leaves are finely chopped and
added to the traditional British dish "bubble and squeak" (cooked
mixture of potatoes and cabbage). Rosemary goes well with most potato
dishes. Try sprinkling finely cut rosemary over potatoes before they are
Rosemary is also a traditional ingredient in
Italian dishes, chop the leaves finely and add them to pasta dishes and
tomato sauces. When you've finished stripping off the leaves the
remaining stem makes a superb barbecue skewer which will add a subtle
rosemary flavour to the meat. If you want to add scent to barbecue
smoke, simply throw five or six stems of rosemary onto the hot barbecue.
The aroma may well encourage the neighbours round for a share of your
barbecue, so beware!
Rosemary is often used to flavour
salad dressings. Add a sprig or two to a bottle of vinegar, leave it for
a week to let the flavour mingle, then combine with olive oil to make a
salad dressing fit for a king.
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