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I have a rosemary bush that has gotten enormous. It's healthy, vigorous, and taking over a section of the garden. It stands about 5 feet tall and at least that much around. I know I should cut it back but what should I do with the cuttings? I don't see any point in drying it since I have access to the fresh stuff, and I don't think it would work well in a vinegar, which is what I've done with excess herbs in the past. But we're talking about a very large amount and it would be nice to be able to use at least some of it.

 

Any ideas?

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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11 minutes ago, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

I have a rosemary bush that has gotten enormous. It's healthy, vigorous, and taking over a section of the garden. It stands about 5 feet tall and at least that much around. I know I should cut it back but what should I do with the cuttings? I don't see any point in drying it since I have access to the fresh stuff, and I don't think it would work well in a vinegar, which is what I've done with excess herbs in the past. But we're talking about a very large amount and it would be nice to be able to use at least some of it.

 

Any ideas?

If they are robust enough, you can use the stems as fragrant and flavorful skewers for meats and vegetables.  

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If it is taking up too much space I'd give it a good prune (not a haircut) and let the trimmings go. A you noted, it is healthy and you will have access to plenty more. It is a strong oily herb and forcing a use you don't need or want, to me, not something to worry about. I do love the adorable purple flowers sprinkled in dishes if the bees will give you a shot at plucking them. . 

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8 minutes ago, gfweb said:

I saw a big mother rosemary in Charleston that was nicely trimmed as a garden shrub.

And I see them here trimmed to Christmas tree shape (complete with decor) - but I prefer the wild style. It is a beautiful plant and for me at least and for our pollinators the flowers are a plus and you lose them with poodle cuts. One of the few things I have strong opinions about ;)

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We barb our country bushes every year and just toss the branches on the burning pile.  The only problem is that regardless of gloves, and trying not to get too up close and personal with the bush or trimmings, I smell like rosemary through several showers.    In the city, I decided not to have a plant and for years just toddled up the street to a neighbor's where I stole several sprigs a year.   

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eGullet member #80.

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Ummm it is a pretty strong smell. We use rosemary at funerals, pinned to everyone's lapel. Rosemary for remembrance. Does linger in the sinuses.

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2 hours ago, AAQuesada said:

Hmmm, maybe make some rosemary sugar like you would with  excess vanilla?  Or a flavored salt?

 

I second the rosemary sugar recommendation.  In her book, Sips & Apps, Kathy Casey uses a rosemary sugar to rim glasses for a cocktail.  I love to use it in baking.  Her method is to mix 2T chopped fresh rosemary leaves (I tend to use more) with 1 cup sugar, spread on a baking sheet and set in a warm, dry place for ~ 4 days then process in a food processor, spice grinder or blender until finely ground. She says it keeps for a month, I've found it to last longer than that.

 

In Drinking French, David Lebovitz uses a rosemary simple syrup to make a nice rosemary gimlet. Heat a half cup each sugar & water with 2T chopped fresh rosemary leaves until the sugar is dissolved, cool, strain and store in the fridge.  

 

You can also infuse the rosemary into spirits for cocktails. In Batch Cocktails, the recipe for one of my favorites, Bound by Venus, involves infusing four 4-inch sprigs of rosemary in 2 cups of gin for a 2-3 hours before straining and mixing with fino sherry and yellow Chartreuse.  I've used vodka in this recipe to appease gin haters and it worked fine. 

 

I've made this Grapefruit & Rosemary Cello and it's quite nice, though I recommend infusing the citrus zest first, then infusing the rosemary for a shorter length of time. 

 

Edited to add that I have rosemary growing along one side of my driveway.  Maybe 60 feet or so.  Always plenty on hand!

 

 

Edited by blue_dolphin
typo (log)
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23 minutes ago, Chris Hennes said:

One of my favorite cocktails is the Rubicon, though you'll have to drink a lot of them to use up a 5' bush!

Exactly - the point Nancy maade was that she will always have fresh - so pruning trimmings are just "adios".  Does bring up great rosemary uses for us with prolific ones. Have at it. I do not see a dedicated topic.

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6 hours ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

We barb our country bushes every year and just toss the branches on the burning pile.  The only problem is that regardless of gloves, and trying not to get too up close and personal with the bush or trimmings, I smell like rosemary through several showers.    In the city, I decided not to have a plant and for years just toddled up the street to a neighbor's where I stole several sprigs a year.   

 

5 hours ago, heidih said:

Ummm it is a pretty strong smell. We use rosemary at funerals, pinned to everyone's lapel. Rosemary for remembrance. Does linger in the sinuses.

 

 

There are some excellent recommendations for uses of rosemary, and I hope my entry here does not discourage further ideas. However, it can have its limits. I post this link as a cautionary tale, courtesy of our beloved Fat Guy. Enjoy.

 

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Totally get what Steven said. "A little dab will do ya".  I will admit to gently brushing it along smelly dogs I watched when bath not an option just to the the funk away. I sometimes put it under or gently pressed in a bread before bake or roast chicken or pork with some sprigs Point being - if ya have it fresh drop the rock on the prunings.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6F4GtyRfto

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I'll have to get it from my PC to post, but came across a recipe in my old files last night for pork tenderloin roasted in rosemary and salt with fingerling potatoes. T sounded delicious. Will post it later.

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Deb

Liberty, MO

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Thanks, everybody. I admit it pains me to discard so much useful herbage, but I think you're right to suggest that I do so. I'd never do that with basil, of course, but rosemary is a different beast. Do you think it would poison the compost? Maybe I can give some of it away to friends. Too bad we're not going to friends' houses these days--I could take a little bouquet of rosemary as a hostess gift! The problem is that most of our friends also have rosemary bushes because it grows so well here. Oh well--it's the gesture that counts, right?

 

Fat Guy's story reminded me of a meal my now-husband cooked for me when we were dating. Suffice it to say that his theory that if a little is good, a lot is better, proved to be his downfall. I don't even remember what the food was, only that it tasted like the piney woods on steroids. Inedible.

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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On 2/4/2021 at 6:26 AM, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

Thanks, everybody. I admit it pains me to discard so much useful herbage, but I think you're right to suggest that I do so. I'd never do that with basil, of course, but rosemary is a different beast. Do you think it would poison the compost? 

Like the pine needles and eucalyptus I am surrounded with here, rosemary can be woody and slow to break down. Too much can affect compost chemistry and inhibit plants when used in the garden Unless you can pre chip it and have plenty of other more usual compost material to mix in - I'd go easy with it.

Edited by heidih (log)
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3 hours ago, liuzhou said:

I'm not sure how useful this may be, but I found it interesting.

Thank you. Very interesting as you noted. 

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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