When it comes to storing rosemary, there are a few key points to remember. It is best to avoid refreezing dried or fresh rosemary and to store it in a cool, dark place. For the most effective results, hang rosemary in bundles of five to seven 20 cm long. Do not place too many branches in a single bundle, or it will fail to dry and will likely start to grow mold. To hang rosemary bundles, you can use rubber bands or string to hold them in place. Hang the rosemary bundles in a dark, cool place, but not in the kitchen, as humidity will keep moisture from evaporating and cause mold growth.
What is Rosemary?
Rosemary has a long tradition of use in both food and medicine. It is a plant with white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, and it grows in bushes with wood-like stems and short, pine-like needles. Although rosemary resembles pine in appearance and aroma, it belongs to the same botanical family as sage and mint, the Lamiaceae. A perennial evergreen, rosemary is frequently grown as an attractive shrub because of its resistance to abrasive conditions.
How to Store Rosemary?
Follow the below tips and tricks to properly store rosemary and prevent spoilage.
Avoid Refreezing Rosemary
Although it can be used in several dishes, rosemary can quickly lose its scent and fragrant flavor when frozen. This can result in inferior flavor in the finished dish. It is better to use fresh rosemary when making pasta sauces, although frozen rosemary is acceptable for a limited time.
When storing rosemary, it is best to use it within three to four months. This can be done by finely chopping it and then packing it into an ice cube tray. If the rosemary is too small to fit into the cube tray, you can cover it with a thin layer of butter or oil. Alternatively, you can place the sprigs in a baking tray and freeze them.
One way to store rosemary is to store it in an airtight freezer. While it won’t keep perfectly, the leaves will retain their freshness. The airtight method will separate the herbs and ensure they won’t stick together. You can even label them with the date you plan to use them.
Another way to store rosemary is to combine it with other herbs, such as thyme or sage, and freeze it that way. This method will ensure that the rosemary stays fresh and won’t go bad.
Freezing the Rosemary
The sprigs of rosemary can be kept fresh for a very long time by freezing them. Most of the year can be spent freezing rosemary, and you’ll still have a fragrant herb at the end of it. The rosemary leaves should be able to hold their shape longer than those of coriander or basil, which have tender leaves. To preserve the freshness of your rosemary, take the following actions:
- Rinse the thyme with cool, clean water.
- In a salad spinner or between two pieces of kitchen towel folded over, as in the method mentioned above, dry the rosemary.
- Place the rosemary springs on top of a baking sheet. Place the tray in the freezer, and allow the items to freeze for 45 to an hour, turning the tray over once.
- Carefully remove each piece of frozen rosemary and place it inside a freezer bag. Store the bag with the seal on for up to a year.
Picking up the frozen rosemary requires caution to avoid breaking the now-brittle needles. Instead of freezing together as a bunch, the rosemary sprigs can be kept separate using this method of freezing on a tray. The sprigs can then be used separately without harming the others in the bag.
Drying the Rosemary for Storage
You can easily purchase dried rosemary from the herbs and spices rack if you visit the grocery store. It is a fantastic technique to preserve them. You can be sure it is rosemary if you dry your fresh rosemary, which is a significant benefit. According to some research, dried herbs sold in supermarkets may occasionally contain less expensive herbs mixed in for cost savings. Drying rosemary at home ensures you use only the best ingredients when making your dinner as flavorful as possible.
Air drying is the initial technique for drying rosemary, and it works as follows:
- Use rubber bands or twine to bind the bases of two or three rosemary sprigs.
- Locate a dry spot in the kitchen free from contamination, ideally in full sunshine. The drying process begins by hanging the sprigs in this location.
- You will need to keep checking on them until the leaves are dry and brittle because the drying time depends on the kitchen’s environment. They are dry if you can grind them into a powder.
It can be very challenging to air-dry rosemary in the winter. The process is slowed down by atmospheric moisture and a lack of sunshine. The oven will be a better place to dry rosemary:
- Wash the sprigs and spread them out on a dry baking sheet to dry in the oven.
- On the lowest setting, preheat the oven. When the oven is ready, put the baking sheet in the middle.
- The fresh rosemary should dry out at this low temperature in approximately an hour, turning it over halfway through. However, this depends on the quality of your oven and how moist the rosemary is. Leave them for a little while longer if they are not dry and brittle.
A food dehydrator can be used to dry your rosemary sprigs as well. Use the rosemary as directed and according to the directions. As a general rule, at a temperature setting of 90 C/190 oF, you should be able to dry them in an hour.
Other Ways of Storing Fresh Rosemary
There are a few alternatives, slightly less standard methods of preserving fresh rosemary to make it last longer. These consist of the following:
- Rosemary salt is made by chopping up a few sprigs of fresh rosemary and adding it to a handful of coarse sea salt. Before doing this, make sure the rosemary is thoroughly dry. Blend the salt and rosemary in a food processor or crusher and pestle until well combined.
- Rosemary oil is made by adding a few rosemary sprigs to a bottle of olive oil and letting them steep. Before usage, give it at least two weeks. The oil will now be used the same way, but it will also have a lovely floral rosemary aroma.
- Chimichurri is an Argentinian salsa that is used to roast and grill meats. It is made with rosemary (although you can use it for vegetarian dishes just as deliciously). Add 1/4 cup of olive or vegetable oil, 1.5 garlic cloves, three tablespoons of white vinegar, and one tiny dried chile or non-spicy pepper, salt, and pepper to a food processor along with four sprigs of rosemary leaves. Combine in a blender, then store in an airtight container.
If you no longer need to eat rosemary, you can still benefit from its lovely aroma. You might find our post on how to make rosemary soap interesting.
How to Store Fresh Rosemary Long Term?
There are a few options available if you want to keep fresh rosemary for a longer period.
Try freezing the rosemary sprigs in zip-lock bags if you want to keep them longer. They ought to last up to six months.
Another simple and effective method to store rosemary for up to two years is to dry it. For more information, see our article on drying rosemary.
Reference: Determination of active components in rosemary by capillary electrophoresis with electrochemical detection
How to Tell if Rosemary is Bad?
After being kept for an extended period or in unfavorable storage conditions, fresh rosemary loses its green color and becomes softer. It’s time to eliminate your sprigs if they are wilting, appear brownish, or seem gross.
It’s up to you to decide whether that old bunch of rosemary sprigs is still suitable for use in cooking, just like with other fresh herbs (such as chives). A hint: they probably aren’t if they’ve been sitting in the fridge for more than three weeks.
Having trouble deciding what to do with your old fresh rosemary? Look at the group and note:
- Use it if it looks good (or better), and throw it away if it looks mediocre (or worse).
What does Rosemary Taste like?
One of the herbs with the strongest aromas and strong flavor is rosemary. The flavor is described as lemony-pine-like, minty, sage-like, and peppery. Start with small amounts because it has a strong flavor, and a little goes a long way.
So that you can have a year-round supply, we have looked into how to dry rosemary. If you need a quick batch or prefer the slow, dry route for the best flavor, keep in mind that each method has advantages.
To reduce the possibility of rot, mold, or general degradation, it is crucial to ensure your rosemary is dry before putting it in jars. You can have tasty herbs for your kitchen and give them to loved ones if you follow our advice.