There’s nothing like the arbitrage spread to be gained by a little rosemary, basil and other garden herbs.
Two bucks and forty-nine cents (!!!!) for a few aromatic sprigs or leaves from your local neighborhood grocer, versus some measure of delayed gratification by purchasing a little potted plant from well, from anywhere that sells such things in spring time.
We tend to favor small local nurseries over big-box stores, but just about any store from Wal-Mart supercenters to the local hardware tack-and-feed will be flogging seedlings for sale in the spring and all through the fall.
While basil is glorious and aromatic and great on caprese salads, pesto and salads, rosemary seems to be its scruffier, more pungent counterpart.
There’s something about rosemary, the “dew of the sea” that nothing else will do in its stead.
Never mind the health benefits of phytonutrient interaction, bioavailability, and the pharmacological interaction of different herbs, culinary or otherwise. That stuff just glazes the eye and numbs the brain.
It’s all about the taste.
Lemon chicken without rosemary? Unthinkable.
Offhand uses like shish-kebab skewers, erbe toscane and picks for oven-baked prosciutto-zucchini-goat cheese rolls? Versatility, rosemary’s got it.
Not only that, but reasonable unfinickyness when it comes to growing conditions.
R. officinalis ‘Tuscan Blue’ is a tall-growing upright rosemary, with branches that can reach six feet tall that grow dramatically from the base of the plant. Used for hedges to border small fields in Tuscany, ‘Tuscan Blue’ is a handsome plant with exceptionally dark blue flower spikes and highly aromatic pale green leaves that lend themselves to cooking and drying. Along with the other tall rosemaries, it is more suitable for growing in warmer climates, but it can also be grown in short-season regions.
And regrettably, as our temps last winter got down to minus zero, so went our three rosemary bushes. No matter, ten bucks’ worth of seedlings, and we’re back in business. As for basil, pschaw! It’s basically free, with volunteers having re-seeded all over the yard.
Get growing, get cooking, that’s what’s in the air in springtime.
Until next time, folks. Posting has been sparse in March, as the F.I.R.S.T. regional competitions take up scarce spare time. Number One Son’s robotics team have acquitted themselves with honor and grace, even in glorious defeat.