The Wonders of Rosemary

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

Rosemary is one of those wonderful herbs that makes a beautiful ornamental plant as well as a welcome culinary seasoning. Its Latin name, Rosmarinus officinalis, means “dew of the sea” and rosemary is most closely associated with the cooking of the Mediterranean area. However you don’t need perfect sunshine, sea mist or even a never-ending summer to successfully grow rosemary. In fact, more rosemary plants suffer from too much attention than from too little.

Rosemary has many uses and is quite the versatile herb. Here are some you may not know;

  • Great for Cooking, and Garnishes. Rosemary can be grown in the kitchen window, or in the yard, and is a common herb used in thousands of recipes.
  • For Repelling Mosquito’s from yard. This is a great plant to grow in gardens or planters especially around areas you use to entertain guests! The oils in the leaves of the plant repel Mosquito’s, and that is never a bad thing!
  • Hair Rinse, and Tonic. Rosemary boiled in a few cups of water can be used for a moisturizing hair rinse that has been linked to hair re-growth, and dandruff elimination. Use half a cup of Rosemary boiled in 2½ cups of water.
  • Flavorful Skewers, or Grilling Pins. Woody stem trimmings can be turned into scented kabob skewers, for meat or veggies. Substitute one or two firm rosemary twigs in place of toothpicks, to hold added ingredients inside the meat while cooking on the grill.
  • Memory Assistance. The ancient belief that Rosemary assisted memory has been proven by modern science! Whether eaten with food, used in oil form on pulse points and temples, or simply smelled, Rosemary has been linked in several studies to increased cognitive performance, it is currently being examined as a possible pharmaceutical ingredient in future drugs that will battle Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease.
  • Aromatherapy, and Romantic Fire Bundles. Rosemary oil, used lightly in baths, and oil burners can stimulate the senses, and relax the body. Dried Rosemary can be bundled up with twine, or ribbon, and kept with your indoor firewood, and hearth tool set, to be added with wood as a fire-starter, and as a romantic mood setter.
  • Steam Treatment. Inhaling boiling water with rosemary in it can assist in treating bronchitis, and the congestion associated with colds, and flu’s. The oils in the plants gently soothe sore throats and lungs, and open up air way temporarily, providing natural relief of common symptoms.

Of course my favorite is using rosemary in some favorite recipes!

Provencal Rosemary Pecans Recipe


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 cups pecans


Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a baking sheet with a lip, melt butter. Mix seasoning into the butter, and then toss in almonds. Bake seasoned nuts for about 10-12 minutes, stirring once, until toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat and serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 4.

Rosemary Butter


  • 1 pound (4 sticks) butter, softened
  • 2/3 C. (cup) light cooking oil
  • 2/3 C. buttermilk
  • 1-3 tablespoon fresh minced or 1-3 teaspoons dried crushed rosemary


  • Stir with wooden spoon. Scoop out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Form butter into an oblong shape. Wrap and roll into a log. Harden in refrigerator. To serve, cut into slices.

Crispy Sriracha Chicken with Rosemary


  • 4 to 6 (about 1¾ lbs.) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt


  1. In a large bowl, combine Greek yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, fresh rosemary, sriracha, minced garlic and salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Place chicken breasts in a large resealable plastic bag and pour marinade mixture over them. Seal bag and toss carefully to coat chicken.
  3. Place bag in refrigerator and let sit 2-4 hours to marinate.
  4. When chicken is fully marinated, heat oven to 375°F. Place chicken in an oven and broiler-safe baking dish and pour extra marinade over the top.
  5. Bake chicken until cooked through, about 40-45 minutes. Heat broiler to HIGH and cook chicken until crispy and golden brown, about 5-7 minutes.

Grilled Rosemary-Salmon Skewers

  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skinned (see Tip) and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes


  1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Combine rosemary, oil, garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add salmon; toss to coat. Alternating the salmon and tomatoes, divide among eight 12-inch skewers.
  3. Oil the grill rack. Grill the skewers, carefully turning once, until the salmon is cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Serve immediately.

Serves 4. Each serving contains Calories 172; Fat 7 g, Cholesterol 53 mg, Carbohydrates 4 g, Added Sugars 0 g, Protein 23 g, Fiber 1 g, Sodium 200 mg, Potassium 607 mg.

Rosemary Lemon Marinated Olives


  • 4 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves
  • 5 strips lemon zest
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups cracked green olives


  • Combine rosemary, lemon zest, garlic, peppercorns, lemon juice and oil. Toss with olives.

Yields 16 servings. Each serving contains Calories 26, Fat 3 g, Cholesterol 0 mg, Carbohydrates 2 g, Fiber 1 g, Sodium 221 mg, Potassium 20 mg.

Rosemary Chicken Salad Sandwiches


  • 3 cups chopped roasted skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about ¾ pound)
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onions
  • ¼ cup chopped smoked almonds
  • ¼ cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • ¼ cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 slices whole-grain bread


  • Combine first 9 ingredients, stirring well. Spread about ⅔ cup of chicken mixture over each of 5 bread slices, and top with remaining bread slices. Cut sandwiches diagonally in half.

Serves 5. Each serving contains Calories 360, Fat 11.6 g, Protein 33.6 g, Carbohydrate 29.9 g, Fiber 4.4 g, Cholesterol 76 mg, Sodium 529 mg.