Rosemary Hair Rinse & Rosemary Vinegar
Most people know to use Rosmarinus officinalis as a spice when cooking. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it is also used for fragrance in soaps and cosmetics and has been used medicinally to improve memory, relieve muscle pain and spasm, stimulate hair growth, and support the circulatory and nervous systems.
In the lab, rosemary has been shown to have antioxidant properties. Antioxidants can neutralize harmful particles in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Also in the lab, rosemary oil appears to have antimicrobial properties (killing some bacteria and fungi in test tubes). It isn’t known whether rosemary would have the same effect in humans.
Rosemary is an evergreen perennial, hardy in zones 8 through 10. It likes full sun and well-drained sandy soil, which means it’s not too picky and even likes its soil on the lean side. If you keep the soil slightly moist, but not too wet (it doesn’t like wet roots), you will have guaranteed success.
It grows equally well in the herb plot or in a container, however, the more room you give its roots, the bigger your plant will get.
Once your plant is established, you can harvest rosemary cuttings at any time for daily culinary use. In fact, this daily (or weekly) pruning will give you full and healthy plants. I keep several plants so I always have one to take cuttings from.
If you are growing Rosemary for drying purposes you could wait until the plant has just begun to bloom. This is when the plant has its maximum oil content and flavor. All you need is a pair of kitchen sheers and a harvesting basket.
Cut off the top 2 to 3 inches of each sprig, leaving green leaves and being careful not to cut the plant too close. You want to be sure and give it time to recover before winter sets in.
You can preserve your rosemary by bundling the clippings with a rubber band and hanging them upside down to dry. Use the same method as you would for lavender. Once the leaves are dry, in about 10 days, strip them off the stems and place in a container with a tight-fitting lid. I like to use small canning jars. Be sure to put your harvest date on the jar.
You can also use the icecube tray for another preservation method. Once they’re frozen, place the rosemary cubes in a plastic bag and remove them as needed. This is a great way to get fresh herbs into your sauces and stews.
Make Rosemary Vinegar
Use the bottle the vinegar comes in. All you need is a bottle of good quality wine or apple cider vinegar, 4-5 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 1 clove or 1 tablespoon of garlic and peppercorns to taste. 3-4 peppercorns will give you a mild flavor, 7-10 makes it peppery.
1. Remove some of the vinegar to make room for your herbs and spices. Reserve this for later cooking or to add back in the bottle if you need it. Half a cup should do it.
2. Place your washed, fresh Rosemary sprigs in the bottle.You might need a straw or skewer to get them in there.
3. Add the garlic and peppercorns.
4. Top off to fill the bottle with the reserved vinegar (if needed) and seal tightly.
5. Place the bottle on a sunny windowsill for about two weeks. Gently shake the bottle every day or so to mix the flavors of the herbs.
6. You can put a new label on your creation and store it on the countertop, it will last indefinitely. Use it in marinades, salad dressings and any other culinary things you can create.
Make Rosemary Hair Rinse
Rosemary is known for its antibacterial properties. An infusion of the dried plant (both leaves and flowers) combined with borax and used when cold, makes one of the best hair washes known. It makes an effective remedy for the prevention of dandruff and will remove oil build-up
1. To one cup of distilled water, simmering on the stove
2. add one tablespoon of borax
3. and one tablespoon of fresh or dried rosemary.
4. Stir and simmer until the borax is completely incorporated, about 2 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and let the mixture set until completely cool.
6. Strain, reserving the liquid and use as a hair tonic.
This Rosemary hair rinse will keep for at least a month, so make a bigger batch and keep it handy.
What other ways have you preserved and used rosemary? Share your ideas below.