Celebrity Deathmatch: Rosemary vs. Basil

Rosemary has been masquerading as a delicate herb for as long as fancy restaurants have existed in New York City, and even its name conjures up delicate, feminine images. But make no mistake, this herb is not the dainty fairy it pretends to be, it is a lumberjack among herbs-- or a linebacker, or Shaquille O'Neal. Up against something as popular as basil (a clear favorite), it would seem that rosemary has no chance.

Because basil is a culinary god and is used across the globe from Thai food to Italian. It makes everything from sandwiches to pasta taste not just better, but divine. Grind it up, shred it, put it in sauce, add pine nuts...the options are endless. For ease of use it gets high points, for ease of growing it is almost unbeatably easy.

And yet Winter hits my garden and the clear winner is revealed.



I'm pretty sure it's impossible to kill Rosemary. In fact, I'm convinced it's a weed. I don't know what the definitional difference is between a weed and an herb. It can't be edibility since dandelions grow as weeds through sidewalks and yet are also a food (and make tea that tastes like dirt!). It can't be tastiness because there are plenty of tasty yet dangerous mushrooms out there. Rosemary was probably once a weed that someone discovered was delicious when combined with olive oil and bread, thus it got promoted, was given a makeover and has been trying to walk around in high heels ever since.

I don't water it, yet it grows.
It gets below freezing and it does not die.
The chickens, rats, rabbits and other wildlife all find it disgusting.
I hack large chunks of it off and they almost grow back magically overnight.

Certain restaurants in San Diego stick rosemary in their dishes like a gourmet toothpick. While others put it in their water pitchers to offer your palate a gentle wisp of flavor. What they don't know, is that I am onto them. The jig is up. They want me to think they are garnishing their food and beverages with fancy herbs when in reality someone is going out to the parking lot every night and hacking at a gigantic rosemary bush that is threatening to take over their dumpster.

I dare anyone to grow it and then try to kill it.

You will see.

Rosemary Infused Watermelon Lemonade
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 sprig rosemary, leaves stripped and chopped
  • 2 cups lemon juice
  • 12 cups cubed seeded watermelon
  • 8 cups ice cubes
Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir in the rosemary, and set aside to steep for 1 hour.

Place half of the lemon juice, and half of the watermelon into a blender. Strain the rosemary syrup through a mesh strainer into the blender. Cover, and puree until smooth. Strain into a pitcher, then puree the remaining lemon juice and watermelon. Stir the lemonade before serving over ice.
4 sprinkles of fairy dust:

You mean you don't have any recipes involving large amounts of rosemary?
That watermelon lemonade does sound good though (with or without the rosemary)

BTW this blog is my new happy place. :) I love it!

This is exactly why my Rosemary will be grown in pots, otherwise in our great soil, Rosemary takes over the ENTIRE yard.

Rosemary is a favorite at our house! It will be going in our new flower beds, as it is one of the few things that the Texas heat doesn't kill! My children are crazy about it, and we use it in cooking and cleaning all the time.

By the way, I'm loving this blog and look forward to more!

I am a killer of plants, I look at them and they die. My rosemary has survived 100+ temps, a drought, because god forbid I water the thing, and now 3 snows and yet it still lives. I love the flavor of rosemary. It is my "I don't know what spice to put in this, oh, lets throw in rosemary" go to. I do, however, adore basil as well. It would be a close match on which would come in first. I killed my basil though after a only a few weeks. Long live rosemary!!