Rosemary is a versatile and fragrant herb that is amazingly easy to grow and provides a wonderful flavor which can liven up numerous dishes. Hearty and beautiful, it makes an attractive garden shrub. However, if you aren't one of the lucky ones who is able to snip off a fresh sprig from your own rosemary bush any time a recipe calls for it, you must purchase it at the supermarket. Fortunately, rosemary is available year-round and is easy to find. When you bring home a package of rosemary from the supermarket, there will likely be more in the package than what is called for in your recipes, since rosemary provides lots of flavor in very small amounts. Here are a few simple steps to follow in order to prolong the longevity of your rosemary so that you can get more from your purchase.
Be sure to check the expiration date on your rosemary's packaging before you buy it from the supermarket. Once the herb is past its freshness peak, it cannot be revived and will not give you the same flavorful results that truly fresh sprigs will deliver.
Give the end of your rosemary sprig a fresh cut at the tip of the stem and place it into a glass which is partially filled with water. This will help your rosemary take in any extra water it needs so that it will not dry out. When fresh herbs become dry and brittle, they lose most of the wonderful oils and flavor that enhance dishes to which they are added. Keep the glass of rosemary in the refrigerator to maximize the longevity of the herb. The old water should be replaced with fresh water every other day.
If you don't want to keep the rosemary sprigs in a glass of water, simply dampen a paper towel with water and wrap the rosemary inside and store in an open plastic storage bag. Do not seal the bag shut, as this can propagate molds and mildew in your rosemary sprigs. This will keep the rosemary hydrated in the same way that the glass of water does in step one. Keep the wrapped and bagged rosemary sprigs inside the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. The paper towels should be replaced every other day or so to keep your rosemary fresh.
Always rinse your rosemary before you begin to prepare it in your recipes or before consuming.
With just a little maintenance and planning ahead, you can keep your rosemary fresh and ready to use in your favorite recipes for at least a week after you bring it home.