What’s not to love about rosemary? Its refreshing fragrance, minimal maintenance needs, and enhancement of every food from chicken to bacon has captured our hearts. But there are so many other ways to use this remarkable plant. Here are several we can’t wait to try this summer.
1. Rev Up Cocktails
Never fear a woody-flavored cocktail. We tested all sorts of delightful combinations (including a super-delicious fizzy concoction from one of our staff) and were impressed by how rosemary brings an earthy, yet sweet flavor to a range of liquors. The key ingredient is this easy-to-make rosemary infused syrup. The winning cocktails of our long day of sampling? Find recipes here.
2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
6 sprigs of rosemary
Add all ingredients in a small pot over medium low heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved. Let it cool for 20 minutes and then refrigerate the syrup in a container until cold.
Photo Credit: Foxes Love Lemons
2. Make a non-chemical bug spray
Looking for an organic and inexpensive way to protect yourself and your family from pests this summer? Rosemary’s unique scent is great for keeping insects off your back. Click here to learn how to make your own repellent spray.
3. Get luscious lips
Shed winter’s chapped, flaked lips with a simple, homemade scrub starring fresh rosemary. We tried this great recipe from Twist Me Pretty and love that it not only left our lips super-smooth, but tasted so fresh and yummy, too. Simple to make with just only a few kitchen larder ingredients. Keep a pot bedside and deskside.
4. Tang up your pesto
We’ve chopped, pestled and processed plenty of pesto using garden-fresh basil, but we thought, how about adding rosemary? It has a pungent flavor that adds depth to foods. We took a classic pesto recipe and added fresh rosemary leaves. It’s fantastic and as a bonus, rosemary seems to reduce the after taste of garlic, too. Buon appetito!
Ingredients (makes about one cup of pesto)
2 tbs. of pine nuts, toasted
1 tsp. of grated lemon zest
3 garlic cloves, peeled
1 cup of rosemary, stems removed
1 cup of basil leaves, stems removed
½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
½ cup of extra virgin olive oil (more as needed)
¾ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of black pepper
Toast pine nuts until light brown
Combine first six ingredients in a food processor, and process until finally chopped
While processor is running, slowly stream in olive oil until well blended (about 2 minutes)
Remove to a bowl and season with salt and pepper
5. Brew a “your house smells so good” scent
This one was a huge hit at our office with most of us vowing to make it at home. It’s a simple stovetop simmer using easy-to-find ingredients that fills the house with a fresh, clean, homey scent. Combine six (4-in. long) sprigs of fresh rosemary, 1 medium to large sized sliced lemon, two cups of water and 1 tsp. of vanilla extract in a sauce pan and let it simmer stovetop for about 25 minutes.
6. Twine into a fragrant napkin ring
This one’s ideal for summertime dinners out in the garden, but it’s also nice in winter (remember rosemary is an excellent sunny windowsill indoor plant, too!) Clip fresh rosemary sprigs to about 9 inches in length, then wrap them around a napkin; either wind the ends together (the fresher the sprigs, the easier to wrap around the napkins) or use floral wire or rustic raffia or twine to secure the ends. Pretty!
7. Make a garden-fresh smelling fabric spray
For those who prefer a soft, natural scent, a rosemary-infused fabric spray does the trick. We like Modern Hippie Housewife’s fabric spray that combines rubbing alcohol, water, rosemary and lavender essential oils, and a few springs of fresh rosemary. You can spray it directly on fabrics but test a small, discreet spot first for colorfastness; if using as a laundry spray, spritz on a clean sock and place inside the dryer.
8. Lustrous Locks
With so many beauty hacks and hair products, we have forgotten that nature has some pretty effective natural ingredients. Rosemary’s magic when it comes to hair as it can help darken grey strands and be useful in invigorating growth, too. Make an easy hair rinse by steeping 8 sprigs of rosemary and 2 cups of water in to a medium pot for about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Remove rosemary sprigs and transfer the rinse into a container. Shampoo and condition as usual, then finish with half a cup of hair rinse. Work into the strands and rinse well for no more than two minutes.
Here are a few of our favorite rosemary varieties you can grow