When we grow herbs often we can struggle to get large enough harvests, with rosemary you will quickly find that you are growing way more than you can use. So here are some outside of the box ideas and recipes for making the most of your homegrown herb!
Recipes For Leftover Rosemary
If like me, you have gone to a lot of effort to grow your own herbs then you don’t want any of them to go to waste. Here are some of our favorite ways to use fresh rosemary, including ways to dry and preserve it!
5 Recipes For Preserving Leftover Rosemary
Sometimes preserving rosemary is a good idea as you can save the flavor and health benefits all year round.
1. Rosemary Infused Oil Or Vinegar
If you have just a few sprigs leftover you can make up a rosemary flavored vinegar or infused oil. To do this bring your vinegar to a slow simmer and add your rosemary (plus any other herbs or garlic, peppercorns etc) Then set aside to cool. Cover and leave for 24 hours, carefully remove all of the botanicals and add your vinegar to an airtight container. It should keep for around 6 months in a cool dark place.
2. Rosemary Salt
Preserve rosemary in salt and this can then become the base for a flavored meat rub. To do this make sure your sprigs are clean and lay them in a container with kosher salt. Cover for two to three weeks until the rosemary is dried out. Remove the rosemary and you are left with aromatic salt, or you can use the leaves as well when added to other herbs to make a tasty rub.
3. Drying Rosemary
Dry rosemary by using a dehydrator – full instructions here, or by air hanging. The only time we do not advise air hanging is when it is past the season for this. Fall onwards can be problematic for getting your herbs dry without introducing them to the risk of mold.
Herbs like rosemary and lavender tend to be easier to air dry than soft, tender herbs like basil and parsley. To air dry rosemary bunch together 10-12 sprigs using an elastic band to allow for air to circulate. Then make a hook from a paperclip and hang in a cool, dark place with plenty of air circulating. 3-4 weeks later the leaves should be dry enough to removed and then store in an airtight container, with a label on!
4. Rosemary Compound Or Herb Butter
Rosemary compound butter sometimes more commonly known as a herb butter. This is a simple way to store and combine herbs to make them easier to use in cooking. It’s something I like to do when I have a spare half an hour and you can allow the flavors to really infuse into the butter. For a full list of favorite recipes for different meats or dishes have a look here.
Essentially you are putting fresh herbs into butter and storing them in the freezer for up to 6 months. By waiting a few days and storing your butter in the refrigerator first you will allow the rosemary to infuse into the butter. This means you get an even tastier herb butter.
5. Rosemary & Olive Oil Ice Cubes
Finely chop your rosemary and add to ice cube trays, then cover over with olive oil and freeze. This takes about three hours and then you can pop the ice cubes out and into a freezer bag. Store for up to a year without any loss in flavor.
Recipes For Using Up Rosemary
These are some of the unusual and wonderful recipes we have found over the years and wanted to share with you. Please let us know in the comments if you have any other favorites to add!
1. Roast Camembert With Rosemary & Garlic
A few spare rosemary sprigs will make a fantastic midweek treat or weekend dinner party starter. Roast camembert with rosemary and garlic is an absolute classic in our house and when lockdown started it was one of those that we used to pretend we were in a bistro pub eating. Check out the full, but very straight forward recipe here.
2. Rosemary Gin Or Vodka
Rosemary vodka is pretty special and works equally well with gin! It really is pungent and works well for those more mature cocktails. One 750ml bottle of vodka will work with 2 sprigs of rosemary. The tip I have is not to overpower the vodka with rosemary. I know it sounds impossible as vodka is such a strong flavor, but the pungency of rosemary is really intensified in the alcohol. You will need to wash the rosemary sprigs, then add to a large mason jar and pour the vodka or gin over and seal before shaking. Leave for 3-5 days and then strain the rosemary and serve up some sophisticated cocktails.
3. Rosemary Cocktail Sticks
You can use rosemary sprigs as cocktail skewers for olives or chive flowers. Very much a homemade high end version of any cocktail but when mixed with rosemary gin the G&T you make is very mature and totally moreish. A lovely warming cocktail by the fire in Fall or Autumn.
4. Rhubarb & Rosemary Jam
We love to use herbs in jams and chutneys but this recipe is such a great winter warmer. Really nice on toast or with roly poly. Plus it is always nice to have a cupboard stocked with preserves that you have made from your own garden ingredients. These jars will make great Christmas hamper gifts!
Hopefully you will find a fair few ideas on this page and others for gifts and jams are a real favorite of ours.
5. Fresh Rosemary Sprigs As A Brush
Rosemary sprigs make a great brush for applying more flavored oils when having a barbecue. It looks the part but it does give a bit more flavor to your meat and is a great way to save on washing up! Basting never tasted so good, but be prepared to get a little messy with this as well!
6. Rosemary & Honey Ice Cream
Rosemary and Honey ice cream is a fun little recipe for an ice cream that will work on the side of sharp little dishes like a lemon tart. It gives a softness to the rosemary and the honey should be locally sourced for an even more authentic flavor.
7. Rosemary Skewers In Barbecues
Barbecues can all be improved by using rosemary skewers! Take large hardwood sprigs and pierce the meat or veg on to the skewer, working up the stem to allow the leaves to stay on. Then use on your BBQ for a great twist and it is a bit of a crowd pleaser too! Make sure to use hardwood cuttings as they will remain rigid with the weight of your skewered meat or vegetables. If you only have softwood then you can double skewer and work from each end, but it is best to wait for hardwood cuttings that can snap rather then bend. Using dried rosemary sprigs will work just as well.
8. Toasted Walnuts & Rosemary
Toasted Walnuts & Rosemary. I used to work in a sheltered housing scheme and one of the residents introduced this idea to me one evening. It has changed how we eat walnuts and you can choose which herbs to add, although rosemary has the robustness of flavor to stand out here. This is the rough recipe; 1 cup walnuts, 1/8 cup olive oil, 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, pinch of salt and pepper. mix all the ingredients and make sure the walnuts are coated with the oil. Pop them in a pre-heated oven at 350F, total roasting time is between 10-15 minutes but keep checking on them! Toss them in the dish every 3-5 minutes as when they catch they will burn quickly.
9. Lemon Rosemary Cake
Bree Hester is one of our favorite food bloggers and she has the most amazing Lemon Rosemary Cake With Lemon Yoghurt Drizzle. It is very light and just the right level of rosemary to give it a bit of a different flavor profile. In Summer make this cake with raspberries and blueberries on the side and you will not be disappointed.
10. Rosemary Smoked Salmon
If you have a home smoker then use sprigs of rosemary for infusing extra flavor into meats and fish. It works well with rock salt as well as garlic! Oak and rosemary smoked salmon is lovely for a home brunch with the girls.
11. Rosemary & Chocolate Fudge
This recipe is for those who like to make an impression! Seriously rich and seriously chic little gift bags of rosemary and chocolate fudge are always welcome. Also it is a quick recipe and you can take your frustrations out on the rosemary as you attack it in your pestle and mortar. Sweet, but not too sweet!
12. Rosemary Lemonade
This is quite a strong and refreshing recipe that works well in the heat of Summer. If anything the rosemary takes the sharpness away from the lemon and you can mix the quantities to suit you with lime or kaffir lime juice to suit.
This recipe is a very basic one and you can adapt to add any herbs that you may be growing at the time. The origins of focaccia seem to be even earlier than the Romans with the early Etruscans introducing our modern version to Italy. Variations on this flatbread have been seen in Middle Eastern cooking at around the same time, roughly 300-200BC.
Crafts & Treatments Using Rosemary
Rosemary has many health benefits when eaten, but it also contains antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can be very helpful in our homes as well.
Using Rosemary In Beauty Treatments & Crafts
These are a few ideas to get you started, if you have any favorites we haven’t managed to include let us know in the comments!
1. Herb Wreath
A fresh or dried herb wreath is a great way to welcome visitors to your home. By using your extra rosemary sprigs as the base for your wreath you can then intertwine in some dried or fresh flowers, like cotton lavender or even lavender and echinacea flowers. Very aromatic and very country cottage cute!
2. Rosemary Hair Rinse
Use spare rosemary to make a hair rinse. This recipe is not for a leave in hair rinse, rather one that is left on for around 10-20 minutes once you have worked it into your hair. Acting as a hair restorer and a gentle henna effect of darkening your hair.
3. Floral Arrangements
Floral arrangements can be bulked out and made a little bit more aromatic with the addition of rosemary sprigs. When your shrubs are in flower they produce lovely, vibrant blue to lilac flowers intertwined with the leaves. This is eye catching and can be rather lovely in a wider display, or equally the pine like sprigs can work very well in both a fresh or dried floral bouquet.
4. Make Your Own Rosemary Essential Oil
If you really do have a lot of rosemary left over then making your own essential oils may be possible. It involves condensing steam and is therefore not a straightforward option. Here is some pretty fantastic advice to follow to allow you to make your own essential oils. Some herbs do make a very good herbal infusion, rosemary is not one of them and if you want to use the essential oils for herbal treatments then this is the best method we have seen.
5. Lavender & Rosemary Body Scrub
This recipe uses sugar rather than the Epsom salt ones I have tried. For me this is a better option. However I do use Epsom salts for a bath soak as it seems to work more gently in this way. It is not too heavy on the rosemary side either, this can be an overpowering herb so use it carefully.
Lavender and rosemary go together very well and can be a well received combination. We have an article about making your own herbal treats to sell and would say that this is one of those favorites across the whole of our friends and family.
6. Rosemary Lip Balm
I find this recipe gives a zing as well as a refreshing coolness. You do not have to add the color at the end as it can look a little too green, the natural color you get is much more subtle. It uses a rosemary essential oil, which you can make yourself or purchase.
Using Rosemary Around The House
These are some of the ways that you can make the most of rosemary in your household.
1. Lemon & Rosemary Potpourri
Make a Lemon & Rosemary Potpourri on the stove. Simply quarter two large lemons and add three sprigs of rosemary to a saucepan. Top up with water and leave to simmer on the stove top. This will infuse your living space with a bright and zesty aroma to lighten the house. Make sure as not to let the pan run dry and keep it topped up all day. This saucepan or stove top pot pourri will last for one day, then replenish the spent botanicals.
2. Rosemary Dryer Sheets
Rosemary Dryer Sheets give your laundry a natural and inexpensive scent. Pop some soft wood sprigs of fresh rosemary into drawstring bags and use once in your tumble dryer. Do not use them more than once as they will dry out and cause a potential fire risk.
3. Using Rosemary To Deter Pests
Rosemary will deter bugs and mosquitos. You can use rosemary in your evening firepit to keep mosquitos at bay. You can also use a natural spray with a mix of rosemary essential oils and vinegar to spray the doors and windows to your home. This should deter flying bugs from entering your home.
4. Bedding For Small Animals
If you have too much rosemary check with your friends with small pets. Our degu’s love rosemary as do gerbils, mice, rabbits and rats. We also line our chickens nest box with rosemary due to the antibacterial properties. Rosemary is safe for these animals to eat as well, so you may find a degu munching down on their bedding.
What Next & Further Reading
- What is the best way to propagate Rosemary? We look at tips and tricks to grow your new plants, Essentially if you have too much rosemary cut sprigs and make new plants to give to friends as little tokens of love, that hopefully they then reciprocate as other new plants for you too!
- What To Do If You Add Too Much Rosemary To Cooking this can happen if you are unaware of your herb conversions from fresh sprigs to fresh leaves to dried.
- Herbs That Go Well With Chicken & How To Use Them rosemary is 100% on this list and for good reason!
- What To Do With A Bumper Harvest Of Garlic