by Laura Waters, Snowdon House Gourmet & Gifts –
Rosemary is a perennial herb that is extremely prolific and will grow in very poor soil; it comes from the Mediterranean. It’s such a lovely herb, and pinching off its needlelike foliage releases an intoxicating aroma. The bees love it when it is flowering; depending on the variety it can have blue or white flowers. So versatile, it can be placed in a teapot with hot water to make a tea, or inside of a roasting chicken with salt and pepper for a flavourful meal.
I recently made the most incredible sauce for pasta from the garden using a blend of rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, cilantro, fennel and lemon verbena. I put them all in the blender and pulsed them – rather ugly with its dark green colour but oh-so-flavourful! The difference when using fresh herbs over dry is incredible. In the summertime a lot of farmers markets offer fresh herbs; treat yourself to a new way of cooking.
I saw a new variety of rosemary in a seed catalogue this spring that is grown primarily for use as a skewer, being thicker than most rosemary, and I placed it on my list for next year. The idea is that you thread your meat and vegetables onto the rosemary skewer, imparting its flavour that way. One of my favorite cookbooks using herbs is The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld. Not only does it have the most incredible recipes, but it is a great reference for growing and using a variety of herbs. One of my favourite recipes is for the Rosemary Lemonade:
½ cup sugar
6 cups water
Six 4-inch sprigs of fresh rosemary
½-¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Bring the sugar and 2 cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the rosemary, cover, and remove from the heat. Let the syrup steep for at least 30 minutes.
Strain the syrup into a jug. Stir in ½ cup of lemon juice and the remaining 4 cups water. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.