Does this herb hold the secret to a longlife?
The ticket to a long life may be growing in your herb garden.
In Acciaroli, a hamlet in Southern Italy, a potent variety of rosemary appears in nearly every dish. Residents regularly live to 100 or older, are less likely to develop heart disease and other age-related diseases, and have exceptional brain function into their second century. Scientists from the University of California at San Diego and Rome’s Sapienza University think rosemary is one reason.
The Postfirst reported on the research in April, when it was still ongoing, and, in September, the final findings were unveiled at a conference in Italy.
“[Acciaroli residents] eat rosemary almost every day, and they grow it,” UCSD researcher Alan Maisel told the Agence France-Presse. “We know that rosemary improves brain function.”
Cleveland Clinic registered dietitianKristin Kirkpatricksays the benefits of fresh rosemary are linked to the essential oils it contains. She estimates that consuming 2 tablespoons of any variety of the herb, whether cooked or raw, a few times a week is enough to see health benefits.
Here are five ways to do it.
1. Marinate your meats
Rosemary is “wonderful to tuck into a chicken with a lemon and a little bit of garlic,” says Danielle Rehfeld, an NYC-based chef and the founder of theInherited Plate. The herb pairs well with the “other white meat,” too. Rehfeld suggests you “finely chop [the rosemary], mix with olive oil and garlic, and place in a hole that extends through the entire length of a big pork loin,” before roasting the whole thing at a low temperature.
2. Toss it on potatoes
One of the simplest ways to use rosemary is to roast it with potatoes, Rehfeld says. “Break off a few small sprigs and sprinkle over any of the beautiful, small potatoes you find at your farmers market or grocery store,” she says. Add olive oil, salt and garlic and bake until crispy.
3. Slurp it up
Rosemary makes for an extra-tasty white bean- and-tomato soup, Rehfeld says — plus, “it’s so easy and perfect for a rainy fall day.” Toss rosemary into your soup starter along with drained white beans, a little vegetable stock, and either fresh or canned tomatoes. Instant flavor and fragrance.
4. Spruce up fall’s bounty
Add extra flavor to in-season butternut squash with this simple recipe: “Take cubed squash, shiitake mushroom heads, two little sprigs of rosemary, salt and olive oil, and roast that at 425 degrees until lightly caramelized and tender,” Rehfeld says.
5. Infuse your chocolate
Ready to really commit to the Acciaroli lifestyle? Try adding rosemary to your desserts. “Rosemary and chocolate pair well together,” says Rehfeld.
You can impart earthy flavor to cakes and brownies by dropping a sprig into melting butter and letting it infuse for a half-hour. Remove the rosemary and bake away.