Rosemary is a popular herb used to flavor a variety of dishes, from roasted meats to tomato-based sauces.
It has a woody, fragrant aroma and a slightly bitter, pungent taste, which makes it a great addition to many recipes.
But how long can you keep rosemary around? Does it go bad?
Fresh rosemary can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator when stored properly. Dried rosemary can last up to 6 months to a year if properly stored in an air-tight container. It is always best to use your senses to determine if rosemary is still good for use.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to store fresh and dried rosemary properly and how to know if it has gone bad.
We’ll also discuss some creative ways to use this herb in your cooking, so let’s get started.
What is Rosemary?
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a herb that belongs to the mint family. It is native to the Mediterranean region and has long, needle-like leaves that are dark green on top and silver on the bottom. The plant also produces small, blue flowers in the spring and summer.
Rosemary has a strong, distinctive flavor and aroma, which makes it a popular herb in many cuisines. It is commonly used in Mediterranean, Italian, and French cooking and is often used to flavor roasted meats, vegetables, and sauces.
Besides its culinary uses, rosemary has also been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It was believed to have memory-boosting and anti-inflammatory properties, among others.
How Long Does Rosemary Last?
The shelf life of rosemary depends on whether it is fresh or dried, as well as how it is stored.
Fresh rosemary can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator if stored properly. To keep it fresh, wrap the stems in a damp paper towel and store them in an air-tight container or plastic bag. This will help prevent the rosemary from drying out and losing its flavor.
If you want to store the fresh rosemary for longer, you can freeze it. To do this, chop the rosemary into small pieces and spread them out on a baking sheet. Place the sheet in the freezer until the rosemary is frozen, then transfer the pieces to an air-tight container or freezer bag. Frozen rosemary can last up to 6 months to a year.
Dried rosemary, on the other hand, can last much longer than fresh rosemary. Properly stored dried rosemary can last up to 6 months to a year if stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat.
How to Store Rosemary
Proper storage is key to keeping rosemary fresh. Here are some tips for storing fresh and dried rosemary:
- Fresh rosemary: Wrap the stems in a damp paper towel and store them in an air-tight container or plastic bag. Refrigerate for up to two weeks or freeze for longer storage.
- Dried rosemary: Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat.
- Freeze: To freeze fresh rosemary, chop it into small pieces and spread them out on a baking sheet. Freeze until the rosemary is frozen, then transfer the pieces to an air-tight container or freezer bag.
- Label: Be sure to label the container with the date of storage so you can keep track of how long it has been stored.
How to Tell if Rosemary Has Gone Bad
It’s important to check your rosemary before using it to ensure it hasn’t gone bad. Here are some signs to look for:
- Off odor: If the rosemary has a musty or moldy smell, it’s past its prime and should be discarded.
- Appearance: If the leaves have turned brown or black, or if there is any mold or mildew on the stem, it’s time to throw it away.
- Taste: Taste a small piece of the plant to make sure it has a strong, distinctive flavor. If the flavor is weak or non-existent, it’s past its prime.
Creative Ways to Use Rosemary
Besides using rosemary in savory dishes like roasted meats, vegetables, and sauces, there are many other creative ways to use this herb in your cooking. Here are some ideas:
- Infuse oils: Add fresh rosemary to olive oil or other oils to create flavorful infusions for cooking or dipping.
- Bread: Add fresh or dried rosemary to bread dough before baking for a fragrant, herbaceous loaf.
- Cocktails: Mix fresh rosemary into cocktails for an unexpected twist.
- Roasted nuts: Add fresh or dried rosemary to roasted nuts for a savory snack.
In summary, fresh rosemary can last up to two weeks in the refrigerator when stored properly, while dried rosemary can last up to 6 months to a year in an air-tight container. Proper storage is key to keeping rosemary fresh and flavorful, so make sure to wrap the stems in a damp paper towel and store in an air-tight container. Be sure to check the herb before using it to ensure it hasn’t gone bad.
With its distinctive flavor and aroma, rosemary is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. Experiment with new ways to use rosemary in your cooking, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how it can enhance the flavors of your favorite recipes.
Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.