|Worth waiting for!|
Herbs are my gardening delight. They put a smile on my face, like a cold beer in the hot summer, or a hot date in the cold winter. I especially like Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) and grow a lot of it. I like the aroma when I run my fingers through it. Whoops, my mind drifted. Stuck on the stuff about the cold winter. Anyway, I just flat like the way a rosemary bush looks in my garden. Even snow covered, rosemary is beautifully verdant and redolent. On those gray days of winter it perks the senses and carries the hope of spring.
Hey, one more big, big reason I love rosemary. For a thumb so brown it makes deadwood look lively, rosemary is a snap to grow, and propagate. Containers. Garden. Backyard. Front yard. As long as it’s got some sun and a smattering of water once in a while, it’s a happy, healthy plant. The worst thing you can do to a rosemary plant is be too kind, and by that I mean over-watering. If you’re container growing, let the soil get dry before you douse it. And, for goodness sakes, don’t let your plant sit in water.
Just for convenience and because rosemary can take awhile to fill out and up, I plant mine from small, nursery grown plants.
I use rosemary for cooking. A lot. Maybe you do, too, but one flavor you may not have tried is rosemary-spiced vinegar. Easy to make.
Take a gallon jug of apple cider vinegar (16 cups, 3.785 liters) and pour off 2 cups, or a little less than half a liter, saving it for another use. Put two cups of pure water back in the gallon jug. You’ve just reduced the acid content from 5% to around 4.3%. I like my vinegar a bit tamer than 5% for salads. Add a third cup of sugar (43 g) and stir until all the sugar dissolves.
Thoroughly wash and dry seven or eight healthy sprigs of fresh rosemary, the fresher the better. When rosemary is cut and sits in the produce aisle, it loses some of its delightfully aromatic oil. That and the price you pay for a few sprigs in a grocery store are two more reasons I like to grow my own.
Place the washed and dried sprigs of rosemary in the gallon jug of vinegar, water, and sugar solution. Cap the jug and let it rest in a shady place for a couple of weeks. Voilá! You have just made more rosemary vinegar than you could use in a three star restaurant in a year. I like to bottle it and give it as gifts.
Want a suggestion on how to use your newly made vinegar? Read a previous post on making vinaigrette, but this time, substitute your homemade gourmet rosemary vinegar. Yeah, yeah, you’ve just created a masterpiece. Now wipe that smile off your face!