Harvesting Rosemary

As many of you know, we are preparing our home in the Sacramento Valley to sell, so we can eventually move up to our future homestead.  One chore for dear hubby last weekend was to trim the bushes in our backyard to make it look more tidy, which included the huge rosemary bush that was threatening to completely engulf our pool deck and take a plunge!

Dehydrating Rosemary

A few sprigs of rosemary, ready to be stripped of it’s leaves.

Every year at Christmastime I enjoy decorating with rosemary.  It is a beautiful evergreen bush that smells absolutely devine.  In fact, all I usually do is take a few sprigs (about the same amount in the picture above) and tie a beautiful red ribbon around the top!  Simple, beautiful, elegant.   I also enjoy cooking with rosemary, so instead of throwing all the beautiful herb into the compost pile, I decided to dehydrate some to keep on hand.

Dehydrating Rosemary

The final rinse.

The first thing to do with the rosemary is to strip the leaves off it’s woody stem.  If you plan to barbecue, save the stems to use as  shish kabob sticks!  They add a wonderful flavor to meats (excellent on lamb and chicken) and most vegetables. If you are using them right away, you are good to go.  Otherwise soak them for an hour or two before using them, so they don’t burn.

Next, thoroughly rinse the leaves in cold water.  Then rinse again.  It’s amazing how much dirt the rosemary will give up when washed!  I think it holds onto dirt because of the amount of oils held in the leaves.  Anyway, I washed mine four times before I didn’t see dirty/cloudy water anymore!  Preserving Rosemary

Next, spread the leaves out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, or put into your dehydrator.  That’s it.  Seriously!  They dry nicely in a day or two on the parchment paper, or in just a few hours in a dehydrator.  I put mine into a spice bottle, but you can just as easily store yours in a mason jar with a lid.

One of my favorite recipes to use rosemary is in focaccia bread.  The recipe below uses both rosemary, parmesan cheese and sea salt.  It is so good as is, but would also make an excellent pizza crust.  You can cut the bread into strips for dipping into a marinara sauce or perhaps the iconic balsamic vinegar/olive oil mixture.  Or, just eat it plain out of the oven.  If you roll it pretty flat before baking, you can also use the focaccia as a sandwich bread.  So good!

Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Rosemary/Parmesan Cheese Focaccia Bread


1 tsp raw white sugar               2 cups all-purpose flour

1 packet active dry yeast         2 tbsps olive oil

1/3 cup warm water                 1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp parmesan/ shred           1 tbsp rosemary, roughly chopped

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water.  Let it stand about 10 minutes until it is frothy.  In a large bowl, combine the flour and yeast mixture, adding water 1 tbsp at a time to make a soft dough.  knead briefly on a lightly floured surface.  Place into a lightly oiled large bowl, turn to coat with oil, cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until approximately doubled, which takes about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just a few times.  On a lightly oiled cookie sheet, roll or pat the dough out to an approximately 12″ circle.  Brush with 1-2 tbsps of olive oil, sprinkle salt over, then rosemary, then parmesan.  Bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until crust is golden.


Rosemary plants

Three rooted rosemary plants waiting to be planted near our orchard on the future homestead!

Dearest hubby also found that some of the rosemary had rooted itself, so we pulled these up and put into a bucket of water.  The next time we go up to the future homestead, this rosemary will be planted on a downward slope that is right next to our fruit and nut orchard.  Not only will this be a great start of rosemary on the future homestead for eventual cooking, but deer do not like the scent of Rosemary, and doing this will deter them from the orchard.

Preserving Rosemary

Dehydrated Rosemary

Do you cook with rosemary?  An old friend of mine makes cookies with rosemary – I must remember to get her recipe!


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59 thoughts on “Harvesting Rosemary

  1. Thanks for stopping by at the Wonderful Wednesday Blog Hop this week. I appreciate the great posts you have shared and have enjoyed the opportunity to connect. Love your site and all the great content!
    Blessings, Shari

  2. I am so glad you are able to take some rosemary with you! I have never used rosemary as a decoration, but you have inspired me! I shall have to remember this come Christmas time!

    • Hello! Yes, the rosemary smells so good in the house at Christmas! It just adds a spicy pine scent that is so clean and fresh! I have also made wreaths with it – very simple if you get long sprigs and simply tie them into a wreath shape with ribbon. Lets hope the rooted plants do well up on our future homestead!

  3. Hey Vickie, that’s such a cool idea to use the rosemary stems for kabobs, I wish I’d known that when we lived in Atlanta because rosemary got huge there! Now I have to grow it as an annual which means no abundance of long stems. Anyways, great info, thanks!

    • Good morning, Jon. They do make great kabob sticks. Too bad your rosemary plants don’t get very big. Do you have any good recipes that use rosemary?

  4. A friend gave us a rosemary bush she dug out of her yard – it didn’t make it 🙁 But maybe I need to get one to replace it, I had no idea it could be used for so many ways. We have a pork roast recipe we use rosemary for and a few other recipes so pretty underutilized here but no more thanks to you 🙂 Have a great week Vickie!

    • Oh – there are so many uses for rosemary! One thing I haven’t done with it but want to someday is make a gardener’s soap with the rosemary! Apparently if you chop it up very fine, it not only scents the soap, but gives it just enough grit to wash dirty hands!

    • Thanks, Blair! The bread is really, really good. You can vary the toppings if you want, but the rosemary, parmesan and sea salt is my favorite. Cut into sandwich sized pieces with a bit of mayo, avocado and tomato inside… MMMMMMMMmmmmmm. So good!

  5. I love rosemary and I envy your ability to just root it and stick it in the ground. I buy wimpy plants and nurse them through the summer to get just a few little needles. I will use my little green bits on this lovely focaccia bread recipe…pinned and thank you.

    • Hahaha – actually, the rosemary had rooted itself! I found that a couple of my azaleas did this same thing this past spring, along with one of my gardenias! I guess when the plant gets big enough and one of the stems is in contact with the ground, it will take root! Pretty cool. Thanks for visiting my blog, Kathi.

    • Hello, Carrie. I am glad you have some rosemary in your garden! It’s a wonderful herb with lots of uses. You can use the rosemary fresh on the focaccia bread, or you can dehydrate it and use it later – doesn’t really matter. Since my rosemary stays green year-round, I always have a ready source. But some people living in harsher climates don’t have this advantage and therefore must dehydrate their bounty before the cold kills the plant. Have a great day!

  6. I love this!! I am trying to grow rosemary this year and didn’t know exactly how to manage and use it. This is great!! I just hope that they start to grow. Have a wonderful day!

    • Good morning, Elizabeth. I hope your rosemary grows well for you. Mine was slow at first, then it just took off like crazy! We have to trim it all the time and when we do, I bring the branches into the house as fillers for bouquets because they smell so good, or I cook with them. Some day I will make soap with rosemary. The herb is so versatile and is a beautiful evergreen (at least in my zone) in the yard. Thanks for stopping by for a visit, Elizabeth!

    • Be careful – those rosemary bushes can take over quickly! 🙂 I think ours has a whole village of trolls under it’s branches. Seriously – rosemary is a wonderful cooking herb and you will find tons of recipes all over the internet if you just google for rosemary recipes!

  7. The foccacia bread looks delish! I don’t know why, but I don’t tend to use Rosemary much in my cooking. Maybe I’ll start! Thanks for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!


    • I know – me too. I have this huge bush in my backyard (really, it’s a monster) and I use it all the time for filling in bouquets and making Thanksgiving and Christmas decorations, but I forget to use it in cooking sometimes! Now that I have a new bottle of the dehydrated stuff, it will remind me to just go out and pick a sprig or two for cooking! 😉 Thank you for hosting, Alison.

  8. This looks awesome and I have to try it, we have a wild bush of rosemary growing in our yard. Thanks to for stopping by this week, wishing you a great weekend, Happy Day to all Fathers in your family!!! Pinned to our Party Board 🙂

    • Thanks, Karren! I hope you and yours have a wonderful father’s day also! I used to take my rosemary bush for granted, but now I am learning that not everyone can grow rosemary. So, I guess those of us who have rosemary growing in our yards should be thankful! Another special blessing I didn’t realize that I had! 🙂

    • Actually, you don’t have to dry it! Fresh rosemary is great! But, if you live in a region that can’t grow it year round, or if yours severely dies back in the winter, dehydrating is a wonderful idea. Thanks for stopping by, Alice!

  9. Love the idea for the soap, Vickie! We always seem to have more rosemary than we can handle. I’ll have to give that a try, my son can use it. 🙂 Thanks for linking up to Real Food Fridays.

    • I know – I can’t wait to make a big batch of rosemary/oatmeal soap! I have the recipe – now I just need to find the time to do it! Thanks for hosting your wonderful blog party, Lydia.

  10. Hello Vickie,
    this is a very great post.
    Also we have rosemary in our garden.
    Of course he is not as great as with you, since we have a different climate.
    Your recipe sounds very tasty.
    We are determined to imitate it, knows something we also enjoy eating times.
    There are so a holiday feeling …

    Kind regards


    • Yes, the rosemary does give a holiday feeling – especially it’s scent! Do you have to start your rosemary every year in Deutschland, or does your plant come back every year? We planted ours, watered it, and it has grown bigger every year since! The focaccia bread is really good and doesn’t take very long to make! The rosemary and parmesan give it just the right flavor. However, I like just a little bit more salt than the recipe states. I am going to make some more tomorrow and we are going to use it as a pizza crust. Have a wonderful day, Uwe!

      • Hello Vickie,
        we have our rosemary over the winter in our greenhouse, and cover with fleece or he goes because of the cold in winter.

        Have a nice week.


  11. I bring my Rosemary in during the Winter. Just planted a new one outside and can’t wait to try this when it gets a little bigger. I love focaccia bread! Thanks for sharing the recipe with SYC.

  12. Vickie, I saw this at Snickerdoodle Sunday! I have grown rosemary for years, but mostly for the scent and decorating. Honestly I never quite knew how, exactly, to harvest it, so this post caught my eye right away. Good thing I read this, I would not have known to wash it so thoroughly.

    I will have to replace my rosemary bush. I grew it from a tiny nursery plant several years ago in a big pot….it had grown so large that it had busted right out of that pot….I thought I would do it a “favor” and transplant it about 3 weeks ago…..it died immediately. It had survived some of the worse winters we’ve had here (zone 7), and I killed it. Ugh! I miss it!

    Thanks for a great tutorial and recipe!! Pinning! 🙂

    • Oh, I am so sorry about your rosemary! You should definitely try again because these plants are amazing. Thank you for pinning and for your comment!

  13. My neighbor gave me 2 pots of rosemary, but I wanted to propagate for my friends. So far no luck. My favorite way to use it is in savory scones. Everyone comes running when they smell them baking.

    I do well with basil – it will root in 10 days, but rosemary seems more difficult.


    • Hmmm… I’m starting to get the idea that with rosemary, I am blessed! Apparently it isn’t as easy to grow as I thought! I hope you get good luck in the future with propagating it. Have you posted your recipe for savory scones? If you have, please send the link. If you haven’t, please do! 🙂 Thanks, Madonna.

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  15. I am a light touch with herbs and spices. Our family doesn’t like strong flavors, but I do like a bit of rosemary. It won’t survive our winters so I tried an indoor plant but it died. I’d love to live where we had a longer growing season and warmer winters!
    Thank you for sharing this and your amazing pomegranate trees (again, jealous of your weather) at What We Accomplished Wednesdays. Have a great week!


    • You know, I have been a pretty light touch with my herbs and spices all my life – until about the last 10 years! I guess as I get older either I become more adventurous or my tastebuds don’t work as well and I need more “flavor” to taste something. I was actually a bit hesitant to put rosemary on my focaccia bread the first time because I thought it would be woody, but surprisingly the bread is moist enough that the rosemary was wonderful! In fact, I started actually mixing a little of the rosemary in the dough before flattening it and putting more on top and it was really good. You can do the same with the parmesan. Thanks for your kind comments, Deborah.

  16. Rosemary is such a wonderful herb, and we have quite good success with it here in the AZ desert. It’s even one of the parking strip plants in our neighborhood. I don’t use that stuff though, I have a nice bunch in my herb pot. Thanks for sharing your info on drying it — good to know!

    • Here in California Rosemary is also grown in street-scapes and along sidewalks. It smells so good and generally stays green throughout the year. I agree that you shouldn’t use that rosemary, however, because I am certain it is polluted by all the cars, people and dogs! 😉 Glad you have some in an herb pot that you can use in your cooking. Try a few sprigs as a filler in a bouquet – the beautiful lavender flowers and scent add so much!

  17. It’s 7am and I’m craving rosemary focaccia! Thanks for sharing at Inspire Us Thursday on Organized 31 and you were featured this week. Congrats!

    • ♪♪♫♪ Good morning, Susan ♪♫♫♪
      Thank you so much for the feature – I am truly honored and pleased that you enjoyed the post. Oh, and by the way, it takes barely an hour to make this bread, so if you are still craving… 😉

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  19. Thank you for sharing this post at City of Creative Dream’s City of Links on Friday! I appreciate you taking the time to party with me. Hope to see you again this week 🙂

  20. What beautiful rosemary! I’ve tried again and again to grow this in my kitchen window but really don’t see good results. I’ll just have to keep at it I guess. Thanks for sharing!