Many herbs that we use in cooking contain "essential oils," or chemicals that are trapped in plant cells until the cell walls are broken open. When you rub a leaf or crush or cook it, you're breaking open those very thin walls. Scientists think that some plants use these strong smelling oils to protect them from being eaten by insects and animals. Humans have acquired a taste for some of them over time. Here's a simple recipe using rosemary that you can try:
Baked Potatoes with Fresh Rosemary
Bake a large potato until it is soft inside. In a small bowl put 2 tablespoons of softened butter or margarine, 2 tablespoons of sour cream, ½ teaspoon of salt, ¼ teaspoon of pepper, and 2 teaspoons of minced fresh rosemary (minced means cut into very tiny pieces). Stir the ingredients together until well blended. Cut the hot baked potato in two lengthwise (hint: hold it with an oven mitt so you don't burn your hands). Use a fork to mash the inside of the potato, keeping it inside the peel. Add ½ of the butter mixture to each half of the potato. Mash into the warm potato. Serve and enjoy!
How to find rosemary at the Arboretum:
Walk in the entrance of the National Herb Garden.
Scientific name for rosemary: Rosmarinus officinalis
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Last Updated July 10, 2009 9:20 AM
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