Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis)


There's rosemary, that's for remembrance
. Pray you, love, remember.
Hamlet, act IV, scene 5
rosemaryRosemary is one of the best known aromatic herbs in the world, and rightfully so. This delightful plant, native to the Mediterranean, has a beautiful form, mesmerising scent, delicious taste and powerful properties. It's hardy, drought-resistant, and some cultivars are frost-resistant as well. It can grow to be quite a large, fragrant bush, beautiful in bloom and not, suitable even for hedges. Bees like it, too. There aren't really any downsides to it.
Various legends are associated with it: the Goddess Aphrodite was said to have it wreathed around her neck when she emerged from the sea foam; Virgin Mary was said to have placed her mantle on white rosemary flowers and thus turned them blue; Ophelia waxed poetic about lovers remembering each other through rosemary, and probably many others I've not heard of.
  • Culinary uses
Rosemary has innumerable uses in the kitchen. It has a rich, fresh flavour and incredible smell, and as such can be used in anything from roasted meats through fish and vegetable dishes, ending in fancy desserts. Rosemary is often used in bouquet garni, or in company with thyme and sage (...and parsley... you know why) to give any dish a "Proven├žal" character: aromatic, flavourful and zesty. There are really few recipes which would not benefit from being spiced with rosemary, though you may want to add it cautiously, since its strong flavour may overwhelm others.
Dishes which profit especially from the presence of rosemary include 
roast potatoes, any kind of roast meat and stews, most types of pasta sauce (especially tomato-based) including spaghetti napoli and bolognese, grilled vegetables of all kinds, stuffed peppers, and anything you want to be piquant but not too hot. My personal favourite is salmon fried on rosemary butter, and then there's this marvel called roast peaches with rosemary... the possibilities are endless.
  • Medicinal uses
Rosemary is a good antiseptic, and quite valuable for external use, cleaning and freshening the skin. Bathing in rosemary infusion is especially beneficial to women's intimate health, and the essential oils can also have a calming, anti-anxiety effect. Internally, rosemary can aid in gallstone treatment, increase appetite and regulate digestion. It's a good herb to use for boosting the immune system and in general fatigue.
  • Magic uses
Rosemary is one of the herbs kitchen witches use most often. Its properties and cultural connotations make it quite a versatile ingredients of spells for health, luck and prosperity, protection, or love. These spells can be in edible form, or in the form of herbal talismans. They can be ritual, ceremonial spellcasting, or incense-based. Rosemary can be burned on coals, or used in the form of essential oil, or a tincture, or oil infusion. Some witches dry whole stems of rosemary in bundles, similar to sage, and some dry single leaves and use them as needles in spellcasting. There are plenty of possibilities.

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