Monday, March 12, 2007

Rosemary, an Herb for Remembrance

I've mentioned Rosemary quite a bit in past articles. It's a favorite with most gardeners. Even if you never learn to use it or don't like the flavor in your food, it has such a wonderful smell, that's it's a joy to have around. It has light blue or white flowers that the bees love, so be careful when you do your weeding. I really don't like to wear garden gloves and therefore I have been stung several times just by reaching in a plant to pull out a volunteer.

Rosemary has been a favorite herb since the days of the Roman Empire. It thrives in their mild climates by the sea, and actually received its name from the Latin words ros and maris which means "spray of the sea." The bush, once established, can reach a height of up to eight feet, but an old English legend has it that rosemary "passeth not commonly in highte the highte of Criste whill he was a man on Erth." They believed that a rosemary bush would not grow any taller after it was in its 33rd year, which was the age of Christ when he died.

In the Middle Ages, students twined rosemary sprigs in their hair to encourage their learning ability and brain activity because they had heard that it stimulated remembrance. Greek and Roman couples wore rosemary wreaths on their head on their wedding day. Later in the 17th century rosemary was used as a wedding favor or included in the bridal bouquet to help bring about a happy marriage.

Whatever the stories, rosemary is worth the effort to have some in your garden or in a pot on your windowsill. And who knows, you might start to remember all kinds of things once forgotten!

Here's a very easy soup recipe:

Rosemary Mushroom Soup

1 c. sliced, fresh mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. butter or margarine
1 can (10 3/4 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 c. half-and-half cream
1 T. minced fresh rosemary, or 1 t. dried rosemary, crushed
1/2 t. paprika
2 T. minced chives

In a large saucepan, saute mushrooms and garlic in butter until tender. Stir in the mushroom soup, cream, rosemary and paprika. Heat through but do not boil. Sprinkle with chives and serve. Yield: 3 servings

I look upon the pleasure which we take in a garden as one of the most innocent delights in human life. Cicero

1 comment:

The Anonymous Mama said...

I just read in a book recently that rosemary is still considered very good for concentration and memory. The book said to dab a little rosemary oil at your temples before a test or study time. It's potent oil, though, so a little dab will do ya!