Thursday, 11 October 2007

Rosemary to go !

I have "jarred" rosemary, and assorted herbs for over four years now .. Some years I have quite a few of them on the go .. This year, well I fell behind, and just managed the rosemary. It is too easy to do .. if I can do it .. well lets just say the village idiot can master the art as well ! haha
The first step is actually planting rosemary .. basic but comes in handy !
I usually, if at all possible, get the Tuscan Rosemary .. I have done three types, Standard,Tuscan and BBQ (yes .. I wondered about that too !) I favor Tuscan for its growing habit .. very sturdy and strong .. easy to pull the leaves off as well. I have read of so many more cultivars of the fantastic herb my curiosity is tweaked !
This year the first one available was the "regular .. standard ? " rosemary .. so it went into a pot for full sun on the deck steps .. then by a stroke of luck I managed to spot "Tuscan" at Home Depot .. that one went into the ground .. hot sunny dry spot .. they seem to thrive on such adverse conditions it is amazing .. just like lavender.
So .. start off with a "planted" plant and take it from there .. once it becomes established .. growing some what like a weed in other words "well" .. you can harvest sections of it and it will grow back .. if done thoughtfully you can have a "heap" of rosemary !
Next .. the drying out period .. this year .. being preoccupied or just plain lazy .. I left branches out in the sun on a deck chair to begin drying .. you can bundle them up and dry them upside down in an area where they won't be knocked about in your home. I manage to get them in a paper bag (ideal for drying since it breaths) and put them either in the cupboard over the fridge or literally plunked on the top of the fridge ..
Be aware that they really do have to DRY .. to a brittle state on the actual "wood" of the plant .. you will know by how it feels .. plus stripping the leaves of the rosemary is very easy .. and no doubt rouge leaves will be in a few places they shouldn't be .. it is something your supervisor (aka Sophie in my case) will point out to you !
I use little jars from the dollar store .. making sure they are well cleaned of course .. you just don't know where some jars have been before ? haha
Drying herbs is a wonderful "after affect' glow of some garden for-thought. Near the end of the garden season, when I have become just plain tired of the chore list .. this is one "job" I actually look forward to .. The scent is amazing, and I can't imagine not doing this every Autumn now. Cooking a "garlic-lemon-rosemary" chicken, in the midst of winter, is that much better for using your own herbs. I can't vouch for where the chicken was before I met it .. but I can say it came to aromatic culinary climax !

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