SPOTLIGHT Ingredient: Rosemary

Rosemary is a very common herb that many use year round, but is especially prevalent this time of year. It has a very strong taste and aroma, which can hold up against both meat and poultry alike. I personally love cooking with rosemary, and for me the holidays wouldn’t be the same without it! But did you know that rosemary is also one of the world’s healthiest spices?
Rosemary is one of the herbs that I cannot cook Thanksgiving dinner without. I am always stocked up on fresh rosemary for the holidays, but also keep dried whole and dried ground leaves in my pantry for a few reasons. The dry rub for my Thanksgiving turkey always contains dried ground rosemary, whereas I tend to use the fresh version in my gravy and stuffing. Holidays aside, rosemary is most commonly found in meat marinades. Who would have known that the combination of rosemary and marinating would have a scientific explanation?  
From the ancient Greeks to modern day researchers, rosemary has been utilized as a memory enhancer with positive results. The ancient Greek scholars wore rosemary garlands around their necks to help them study, while modern research has shown increased memory and alertness test results for students after inhaling rosemary oil vapors while studying. And that’s not the only reason this herb is considered one of the world’s healthiest spices. Rosemary’s compounds fight bacteria and help keep meat from spoiling, thus making it a perfect candidate for a marinade. It may even make cooked meats healthier! Kansas State University researchers reported in March that adding rosemary extracts to ground meat helped to prevent the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs)—cancer-causing compounds produced when meats are grilled, broiled or fried.
Since learning of rosemary’s health benefits, I have been trying to utilize the herb as much as possible in my new recipes. Check out my Pear, Prosciutto, and Goat Cheese Pizza, or my Autumn Harvest Pumpkin and Beef Stew, both of which I have used rosemary with tasty results. Experiment with those old family favorites this holiday season by adding rosemary, or try something completely new! Give your family a healthy dose of rosemary today!

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