If your rosemary plant has suddenly started to produce or there was an irresistible supermarket promotion, you may have ended up with a huge amount of rosemary and don't have enough time to use it. There are very simple tricks to make sure the herb doesn't go bad before you've had a chance to use it. You can store it in the fridge, freezer or even dry the sprigs to prolong its shelf life. It will be possible to taste the rosemary for weeks or even months!
Method 1 of 4: Storing Rosemary in the Refrigerator
Step 1. Wash the rosemary
Rinse the sprigs with cold water and spread them on a paper towel to dry. Use a salad centrifuge if you have one. Otherwise, pat it dry with another paper towel.
Excess water will make the herb a little sticky when storing, so it is very important to dry it completely
Step 2. Wrap the rosemary in a damp paper towel
Keep the sprigs whole, without cutting any part. A damp paper towel will prevent them from drying out in the refrigerator.
Step 3. Place the rosemary sprigs in a resealable bag
The seal will protect the herb from oxygen, which can spoil it and turn it brown more quickly. Use a resealable plastic bag or a closed container.
Write the date on the bag or container so you don't forget the storage time in the refrigerator
Step 4. Place the bag in the refrigerator's vegetable drawer and leave the humidity high
With the bag or container tightly closed, the rosemary will stay fresh for up to two weeks.
The herb is still usable as long as it is green and fresh looking. When it starts to turn black or brown with a little stickiness, it's already gone and should be discarded
Method 2 of 4: Freezing Rosemary Sprigs
Step 1. Wash and dry the herb
Wash the sprigs in cold water and spread them out to dry, tapping them lightly with a paper towel to speed up the process. Another option is to use a salad centrifuge.
Step 2. Place the branches on a baking sheet
Leave the leaves attached to the stalks and spread the branches in a single layer evenly. Try not to let them touch each other as they can stick to the frost. Spread them directly on the baking sheet or on a piece of parchment paper.
Step 3. Freeze the rosemary for a few hours
Take a look at the branches every half an hour and leave them in the freezer until they are solid, that is, when they don't bend easily and when the leaves don't move at all when you pick them up.
Leaving the rosemary on the baking sheet allows you to freeze each branch separately, without one sticking to the other. This also makes freezing faster and more complete than if the rosemary was in a bag
Step 4. Place the herb in a bag
Close tightly and remove all air to save freezer space. Write the date to find out how long the rosemary has been frozen, in case you forget. Finally, take it to the freezer.
Step 5. Store for several months or a year
Depending on the quality of your freezer, the rosemary will stay fresh for up to a year or more. Check the branches each month to see if they are still good for consumption, always checking for mold or signs of browning. When it's time to cook with the rosemary, take it from the bag in the freezer; it is not necessary to thaw before use.
Method 3 of 4: Drying the Rosemary Naturally
Step 1. Wash and dry the rosemary
Wash the sprigs with cold water and spread them out to dry. Tap each one lightly with a paper towel or use a salad centrifuge to dry them more quickly.
Step 2. Remove lower rosemary leaves
Pluck the leaves from the lowest part of the branches, 2, 5 to 5 cm from the tip. This is where you will tie the herb to hang it.
Step 3. Tie the rosemary to branches with string or string
Arrange them so that they all face the same direction. Gather a handful of branches, enough to fit in the palm of your hand. The exact amount of rosemary in a handful is not as important as getting them all even. Tie each bunch together at the end using string, string, or elastic ribbon.
Tie it tight, but leave the branches looser at the top so that air can circulate between them
Step 4. Hang to dry in a clean, dark place
Use the basement, an empty room or a closet to store them. Hang them from a clothesline, clothesline, or an exposed hanger. Use a clothespin or pieces of string to tie and hang them.
At the storage location, make sure the branches are not in direct sunlight and away from cooking oils, smoke, dust and steam. They should always be kept as dry and clean as possible to maintain good quality and taste
Step 5. Take a look at the rosemary after a few days
Squeeze it a little to see if it fragments. If that's the case, it's ready! Put some leaves in a glass jar or plastic bag and close tightly. If there is condensation inside the jar or bag, the rosemary needs more time to dry. The process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, so be patient!
If the branches form a powder when you squeeze them, it's because they've dried out too much. That's why it's important to keep an eye on them all the time, and even more often when they're almost done. It will not be possible to recover the rosemary if it remains dry for a long time
Step 6. Store dried rosemary in closed containers
Cut the leaves off the stalks and place them in a sealed jar or resealable plastic bag. You can shred the rosemary before putting it away, or you can store it whole and shred it only when cooking. Dried grass should last a year in the pantry or cupboard.
Method 4 of 4: Drying the Rosemary in the Oven
Step 1. Wash and dry the rosemary
Use cold water and dry the branches with a paper towel. Let them sit for 10 to 15 minutes to dry completely, as if they are still damp when they go into the oven, the process will take much longer.
Step 2. Spread the branches on a baking sheet
First, cover the baking sheet with parchment paper and place the branches well apart. Use more than one baking sheet if you need more space!
Step 3. Turn on the oven at the lowest possible temperature
This way, the rosemary will roast slowly but not burn. Place the pan near the center of the oven.
Step 4. Let it bake for half an hour
After 15 minutes, leave the oven open for a minute to let the moisture escape, which speeds up the process. After half an hour, check that the herb is ready by using a kitchen glove to squeeze it and see if it degrades. If it fragments in your fingers, it's ready! If not, return the pan to the oven and check again in 15 minutes. The rosemary shouldn't take more than an hour to bake!
Step 5. Allow to cool completely
Take the branches off the baking sheet and place them on a flat, clean surface. When they are already cool, remove the leaves from the stalks and degrade them if you wish, or keep the branches whole if you want to use a bigger one when cooking or decorating something.
It is important that the rosemary is completely dry and cool before being stored. Heat will create moisture in the container, which can cause mold
Step 6. Store in a closed container
Use a bottle, plastic container or bag. For best flavor, use dried rosemary in one year. It will still be good after that time, but the flavor will not be as strong anymore.