Rosemary oil. Picture / Eleanor Ozich.

7 Everyday Uses for Rosemary

Eleanor Ozich of Petite Kitchen explains how versatile this woody herb can be

I have always had an immense love for rosemary. Its alluring woody scent is not only delightful in cookery, it also has many everyday uses for natural health and beauty. Read on below for a few simple and lovely ideas, as well as my recipe for home-made rosemary infused oil.

1. Rosemary for linen & clothing
Place a small bunch of rosemary wrapped in twine in each drawer. This beautiful herb will give your clothes an earthy pine sent, and is also known to naturally repel moths.

2. Rosemary for relaxation
Add a dash of rosemary oil in to your evening bath for a relaxing and rejuvenating soak. You can also place a drop or two on your pillows to help you unwind and fall into a blissful sleep.

3. Rosemary for beautiful hair
Massage rosemary infused oil gently into your hair and your scalp. Leave the oil to condition for an hour or so, then wash out as you usually would. Rosemary is known to help boost circulation in the scalp and is a nourishing hair and scalp tonic. It is especially good for dark hair.

4. Rosemary for love
Bouquets, wreaths and table decorations look lovely with the addition of fresh rosemary, beautiful for any type of gathering or celebration. Legend says that tapping a rosemary sprig against the finger of a loved one assured their affection.

5. Rosemary for natural health
This medicinal herb is known to naturally treat poor digestion, depression, headaches and sore muscles.

6. Rosemary in cookery
This aromatic herb has a delightful and robust flavour, reminiscent of pine with subtle hints of mint. Rosemary enhances and adds a beautiful dimension to most roast dishes, including meat and root vegetables. It pairs particularly well with garlic and lemon to create a beautiful collision of flavours. I also like to add it to marinades, salad dressings and cream sauces.

7. Rosemary in desserts & baking
This savoury herb is surprisingly delicious in sweet recipes. The delicate earthy flavour pairs beautifully with honey, lemon and other citrus fruit.

Tip: You can store fresh rosemary in the refrigerator wrapped in a damp paper towel.

Here’s how to make your own rosemary infused oil at home:

1. To begin, you will need a sterilised bottle or jar. Rinse recycled jars thoroughly first in hot soapy water, then boil in a large saucepan for 20 minutes.

2. Put as much fresh rosemary as you can into the jar or bottle.

3. Pour olive oil over the rosemary, filling right to the top. As a rough rule of thumb, use two cups of oil to one cup of herbs, although this may change slightly depending on the vessel used.

4. Secure the jar or bottle tightly with a lid and place it in a warm spot. This could be a sunny place on the veranda or windowsill, or in a warm cupboard. Leave the oil to infuse for 2-3 weeks, or until the rosemary begins to brown. Take the cap off and smell its beautiful aroma. If it is not strong enough for you, strain the liquid, fill the jar with fresh plant material, and pour the oil back over it. Leave for another week or so. You can repeat this step until the oil is as aromatic as you desire.

5. When the oil is ready, strain thoroughly and pour in to a clean bottle. You can store your aromatic oil in a cool place, for up to 6 months.

• For more from Eleanor Ozich see petite-kitchen.com

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