Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Everything’s Coming Up Rosemary: Health and Culinary Benefits of the Herb
Next time you’re cooking, get into the spirit of the holiday season with a flavor that oftentimes gets overlooked: rosemary.
This perennial shrub, with its blue flowers and distinctive aroma, not only adds a spicy, woodsy flavor to your dishes but also comes packed with a bunch of health benefits.
Exploring the Roots of Rosemary
Rosemary’s botanical name is Rosmarinus officinalis, hinting at its coastal origins and translates to "Dew of the Sea" or "Sea Mist." The name reflects the plant's fresh scent reminiscent of an ocean breeze.
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Rosemary belongs to the mint family, rosemary is a versatile herb that pairs exceptionally well with a variety of dishes, including potatoes, bread, roasted vegetables, chicken, turkey and fish.
Rosemary Fun Facts from Ancient Times
- In ancient times, rosemary was used to create talismans against poisoning and was burned in the rooms of the sick.
- Some cultures believe in rosemary's ability to ward off evil.
- Garlands of rosemary were worn about the head of priests for memory improvement.
- In funerals, rosemary symbolizes remembrance of those who had passed away.
A Closer Look at Rosemary’s Nutrition Profile
Beyond its culinary appeal, rosemary packs a lot of essential vitamins and minerals, including calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin A. Its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties make it a valuable addition to your diet, contributing not only to taste but also to food preservation.
Also, Rosemary’s ability to add zest to dishes without causing water retention makes it a smart choice for individuals on low-sodium diets.
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Recent studies are shedding light on rosemary's potential to promote gastrointestinal (GI) health. With the gut microbiome playing a crucial role in immune function, maintaining a healthy gut is important for fighting illness.
Growing Rosemary at Home
You can easily grow rosemary at home. Rosemary thrives in pots and containers. It can be grown indoors or outdoors, though it requires winter protection during the colder months. If overwatered, it can be in danger of root rot.
Harvested in summer and early fall, rosemary's pretty blue flowers can also serve as a unique aesthetic addition to your home.
From Garden to Table: Rosemary-infused Holiday Delights
Consider elevating your holiday meal with the aromatic charm of rosemary. Our registered dietitians at Norman Regional Health System recommend trying two delightful recipes: herb turkey roasted with rosemary, sage, and thyme, and herb-roasted potatoes.
These recipes not only enhance the flavors of your holiday spread but also bring the many health benefits of rosemary to the whole family.