Harvesting and Drying Rosemary
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Peter Strand
Posted on: March 13, 2002

How do you dry and preserve rosemary? And what size should the plant be before clipping? Mine is about a foot tall. I just can’t seem to get the taste of that store bought rosemary. Is it just my plant? And what sort of light and feeding is good for it?

Rosemary plants do vary is taste. Try the ‘Rex’ variety for really excellent taste. However culture has such an effect on the taste that even good culinary the varieties can taste bland if grown incorrectly. Rosemary needs high light and heat to produce lots of oils. It is the oils that give it the flavour.

Also how you dry the harvested twigs makes a big difference to the taste. The drying should take place quickly and at as cool a temperature as possible. It will then lose fewer oils to the air. We therefore recommend that the twigs be placed on a sceen in a shady spot with good air movement. In late afternoon, the screen has to be moved indoors, because out of doors the humidity goes up so much that the twigs could get rehydrated.

The more you fertilize a plant the fewer oils it will produce, because the oils are produced as a response to a certain amount of environmental stress. Therefore only fertilize enough to keep the plant growing slowly, but not lushly and overly quickly.

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