4 Ways to Preserve Fresh Rosemary
Freeze Your Rosemary
Rosemary’s sturdy, resinous character makes it a perfect candidate for freezing. Of course, you can freeze rosemary leaves in ice cube trays, suspended in either olive oil, tallow or filtered water.
My favorite and most convenient means of freezing rosemary requires one extra step, but the result is worth it. Take individual clippings of rosemary, leaves still attached to the stem, and place them on a baking sheet. Place the rosemary sprigs in the freezer for a couple of hours, until they are frozen solid. Transfer the sprigs to a freezer bag for future use. Instead of a large mass of leaves, now you can easily pluck one or two sprigs, as needed, for garnishes, additions to soups, and components for rubs.
Dry Your Rosemary
Unlike more tender herbs, like parsley or basil, rosemary naturally holds its flavor, color, and texture when it is dried. Drying it couldn’t be easier, either. Each of the three most-commonly used methods — air-drying, oven-drying, and dehydrating — are all great options. After washing and drying rosemary sprigs, bundle them together, tie them up at their bases, and hang in a well-ventilated area to air-dry. ( I prefer air or dehydrator)
Rosemary also dries evenly in the oven. Place sprigs on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and set the oven on the lowest temperature possible. Choose the “warm” setting or even just let the pilot light do the work, if you have a gas oven. My favorite method? Place rosemary sprigs in a food dehydrator, select the lowest setting, and wait a couple of days. Due to rosemary’s thicker texture, the dehydrating process might take a little longer than other herbs.
Try a Rosemary Infusion
Infusing vinegar or olive oil with rosemary is a great idea. Think about all of the marinades, rubs, and salad dressings you’ll be able to quickly toss together.
One of my favorite ways to use my fresh rosemary is to make rosemary bitters.
You can also make a tea or add to homemade lemonade.
Make Rosemary Citrus Salt
One of my favorite things to have around during grilling season is rosemary citrus salt. Start with a cup of coarse sea salt and add a good handful of fresh rosemary leaves, along with the zest from one lemon. Pulse in a food processor until you achieve a fine texture. Store in an airtight container. This loose recipe works well with other resinous herbs, like savory, sage, or thyme, and is delicious on grilled chicken, vegetables, lamb, or steak.
I even like to take a handful of rosemary citrus salt and add a little olive oil or sweet almond oil to make a fragrant after-gardening hand scrub.
What are your favorite ways to preserve rosemary?