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Rosemary Powder

rosemary flowerRosemary is one of my favorite herbs to use in cooking, particularly in chicken, salmon, and potato dishes and in breads. Rosmarinus, "Dew of the sea", is not just delicious and wonderful smelling, but it also has many traditional, medicinal, and superstitious uses, as well as a mythological history connecting it to Aphrodite and the Virgin Mary. It's a natural food preservative and moth repellent and has been scientifically shown to protect the brain from free radicals, lowering risk of stroke and diseases such as Alzheimer's, as well as having anticarcinogenic effects*. In the same botanical family as mint and sage, this aromatic herb is a drought tolerant and somewhat hardy perennial that grows well in the Mediterranean-like climate where I live.

When the plant is not flowering, and the spiky leaves are younger and less tough or woody, I'll use them fresh from the plant: whole sprigs, finely chopping the needles, or crushing them with a mortar and pestle. I also like to have dried rosemary on hand for use all year around. To dry rosemary, you can tie the sprigs up with a string and hang somewhere that gets good airflow, though keep it dry and out of the sunlight. I often dry sprigs for use later by rolling them up in a paper towel and leaving on the back of my counter for several weeks. The paper towel protects them from collecting dust—which seems to happen in the air since rosemary has a little bit of a sticky sap coating. Folding it into a paper towel doesn't cause mold or prevent the drying of the herb in my climate.

After the rosemary becomes throughly dry, strip the needles from the woody stems and put them in sealed jar to retain pungency. If the herb is fully dried, the needles should easily break away from the sticks.

rosemary sticks

rosemary in coffee grinderI keep a jar of these whole needles for cooking, but often I like to use rosemary powder for recipes such as soups and especially for adding to homemade salad dressing. Dried rosemary needles can be easily turned to a powdered herb using a coffee grinder. Clean the grinder first to remove all traces of coffee grounds and oils and then again after to remove the rosemary powder and resin. Grind for a couple minutes, until a fine powder.

Your kitchen will now smell amazing.

rosemary powder being bottled

A small funnel is a great tool to have in the kitchen for bottling seasonings, whether you buy them in bulk or make them yourself!

rosemary powder in bottle

* http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071030102210.htm Rosemary Chicken Protects Your Brain From Free Radicals

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