Rosemary is lovely in winter

Latin Name:  Rosmarinus officinalis. Roughly translation: “dew of the sea.” It has earned this reputation by needing no water other than the humidity of the sea to thrive along coastal regions.

Other Common Names:  Anthos

Interesting Historical Trivia: Rosemary has a long association around the globe with remembrance. Ancient Egyptians placed rosemary branches across the coffins, and this tradition continued into the era of Shakespeare. (From Hamlet: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” From Romeo and Juliet: “Doth not rosemary and Romeo begin both with a letter?”) In the 16th century it was burned daily in hospitals to kill germs, and used as a symbol for fidelity during weddings.

Proven Scientific Uses:  Rosemary is high in caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid; these compounds have been proven to have antioxidant effects and are being studied as potential therapies for cancer, liver toxicity and inflammatory conditions. Rosemary is also high in carnosic acid, which has been proven to protect the brain from stroke and neuro-degeneration.

Folk Remedies: Native cultures infused rosemary in oil and used it for various skin conditions, hair loss, and aromatherapy to eliminate stress, prevent hypertension and clear the sinuses. It’s considered a good volatile oil and can be added to hot water and used as a hair rinse for a clean scalp, boil a sprig and steam your face and clear your sinuses, throw sprigs in the corners of your pantry to discourage bugs. You can even boil a sprig in two cups of water and use it as an antiseptic cleaning solution. Some herbalists also believe that rosemary can help slow memory loss associated with alzheimers.

Common Culinary Uses:  Roasted Chicken, pork, lamb, and potatoes.

Unusual Culinary Uses:  Apple pie, Lemon Rosemary Cake, popcorn (see below.)

Can I grow it?: Rosemary is a perennial plant from zone 7-10, and can sometimes overwinter in zone 6. In zones 1-5, rosemary can either be replanted every year, or grown in pots and brought indoors to a sunny window over winter. Can be started either from seed or from starter plants. Requirements: Full sun, good drainage.

How do I store it? Fresh rosemary can be frozen for up to 2 months. Another great storage method is to prepare rosemary infused oil, which can be used when making French fries, popcorn, or sautéing vegetables.

Check out the slide show to learn how to make rosemary oil:




by Amy Smith Wexler

Reader Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Terry Burns

Trying something this year I just heard about – freezing rosemary. Cleaned and dried a whole lot, on the woody stems, placed in a sealed Ziploc bag in the freezer.The theory is that the leaves fall off the stem within two weeks, you place these in a clean jar, and place back in freezer. I have bags of rosemary, thyme and tarragon in there now (why not?). Has anyone done this before?

Meghan Howell

Rosemary is so easy to grow! It’s a staple in my garden every year.


I knew about the wonders of rosemary, but not how to oil infused with rosemary.
I was told to refrigerator for 2 months & throw out the rest & start over.
I am not saying you are wrong, just telling you what I was told.
I will use that small amount of oil in less then 8 weeks.
I have read that there are over 600 variety of Rosemary, some are weeping with ice blue flowers.

Sharon Dodson

I have lots of Rosemary…I wish now I had planted it in different places, it’s gotten so tall it’s over shadowing my other plants that grow low, I’am going to try and transplant some of it…But I’am going to make this oil….thank you for this recipe….I love you guys.

Elaine Lenz

Thank you for such interesting information about Rosemary! Love to spray a mixture of Rosemary oil and spring water around the room for a calming effect. Rosemary sugar cookies are delicious and left out in the kitchen on a plate, leave a fabulous lingering sweet fragrance.

Bonny Andrilla

Cheryl, would LOVE the recipe for the Rosemary Shortbread Cookies. Sounds awesome. Thanks, Thanks, Bonny

Teresa Jones

I am so going to make rosemary oil, thanks sounds easy enough. Now I gotta go and buy more plants. But I guess that just means I believe in tomorrow like Audrey Hepburn and her garden B)

Vitta Fernandez

Love, love this herb! I had a friend who bought a tiny plant and in a few years he had a Rosemary tree! It was almost three feet high and super bushy. So many things that you can do with it, from cooking to cosmetic. Thanks for the primer!


Love rosemary, have only grown it for a couple of years, now I can make the oil, thanks so much. Love you guys, you are the best!!!


I’m so jealous of the Southerners who get to enjoy their big beautiful rosemary bushes year round. I’ve brought mine inside this winter (CNY) and have managed to not kill it for 5+ months. I believe my plant has enough leaves to try this simple recipe out. Thank you guys for the suggestion!

Jen Coghlan

I’m in Iowa, too! I brought mine in over the winter and love to pinch a few leaves in my fingers to smell it each day. I eat a couple of leaves as well. I am glad I know now it is good for me!


Rosemary will root easily in a glass water set on a window sill. It’s great when our dogs wander through aromatic plants and come inside not smelling like dogs.

Judith A

I have a big outdoors Rosemary bush that seems to have been injured as there are more dead stalks than live ones. Should I cut everything way back to six or eight inches?

Michelle NH

I have only been gardening for four years, so I’m not an expert. However, I have found that cutting it back, especially the little branches along the ground, can help. You can also replace a rosemary plant for just a few dollars or a $100 packet of seeds.

Sonja Norman

I always love everything natural and from nature, too much artificial is pushed down our throats and no one goes back to the basics. Thank you this wonderful article.


I grow rosemary every year. And every time I walk by it I run my hands through it. I just love the smell of fresh grown rosemary. I use it in lots of recipes.


I once wintered over a rosemary in Iowa. Zone 5

Rosemary dies if it dries out….even once. Keep moist inside or out.

Kim in Minnesota

Mmmm, Rosemary. I added it to the popover batter for Easter dinner. Very good!