How To Harvest Rosemary Properly – A Quick & Easy Guide

When summer comes, there won’t be a house in your neighborhood which won’t be “decorated” with that beautiful aroma of barbecue, I guarantee it. But, did you know that some herbs are making an outstanding brush to spread marinade?

To include herbs in your meals, you have to know how to gather them, don’t you? Therefore, let me show you how to harvest rosemary, and have one of the best marinade brushes in existence.


Which Tools Are Required?


Besides being easy to maintain, rosemary is also almost trivial to harvest. Luckily, it is highly likely that you already have what is needed for gathering.

Just as it is the situation with harvesting chives, you will need only gardening shears. Scissors are not recommended, since rosemary has a bit harder stems, and you can have trouble cutting them. Instead, see that your shears are tight, sharp and work without an effort.

Alternatively, you can use a kitchen knife, if you don’t have shears. My mother used to use an ordinary knife, but not the one with a flat cutting edge, since that one is ineffective.

When Should I Harvest The Herb

when should harvest rosemary

If your plant is growing for some period, just about any time is fitting for harvesting. The only rule you should follow is to see that the branches are longer than 7-8”. If you cut anything below that, you risk killing the plant.

As for the time of the year, spring and summer are your safest bet. In this period the herb is growing and can regrow again. Also, see that the day when you are harvesting is nice and dry. In case that you are taking just a few branches, it doesn’t matter if it is raining or not; it is a small difference which won’t matter much.

On the other hand, if you are growing rosemary indoors, you can snip a few branches here and there, as needed.

So, How To Harvest Rosemary?

How to harvest rosemary

Although this is one sturdy herb which will continue to grow, you have to be careful and not to cut whichever branch you want, without control. There is a “20% rule” which you should always follow.

For example, if you need just small amount of fresh rosemary, cut the upper fifth of the branch. Usually, this part will be green and softer than the lower section. That lower part turns woody and is generally harder to cut.

On the other hand, if you want to harvest more for storage, cut about 20% (see what I’m talking about?) of all stems. Remaining branches are sufficient to keep the herb growing, and must be left.

The cut needs to be clean and flat. If your shears are not sharp enough, it will bruise the stem, causing damage. This is like a massive, glowing neon sign for bacteria and viruses which says “Free drinks and food for anyone who can enter”. Naturally, you want to avoid this, so make those cuts clean!

How To Store Rosemary?

Since harvesting is a bit dull, let’s make things interesting at least when it comes to storing, shall we? There are several ways to do so, and here they are. All of those are suitable for long-term saving since the leaves of rosemary are such that they can last for quite long.

Short-term storing doesn’t require any special terms.

Drying The Rosemary

Drying rosemary

This procedure is one of the easiest. Just take cuttings, bundle a few branches, tie them with a piece of rope or rubber band at the base, and hang upside down to dry. The location should be in the shade with good air circulation.

After a week or two, prune the leaves from branches and put them into an airtight container. Classic glass jar with a good lid is a far best solution, as far as I’m concerned. Alternatively, you can grind the leaves to boost the aroma those will release.

Freezing The Rosemary


Wait, before you think anything, yes, I am serious. This is an excellent way to store fresh rosemary with minimal loss of taste. All that is needed is to put a pinch of leaves into an ice cube (not the rapper) tray, pour water over them, and let it freeze. Once the cubes are solid, transfer them to a plastic bag and put back into the freezer.

The main advantage of this procedure is that you can throw a cube or two into the pot straight from the freezer. This means no mess, defrosting or other inconveniences.


As you can see, learning how to harvest rosemary is an easy task. Considering how easy to grow and maintain this plant is, you can understand why it is my advice to try and grow it yourself. It is rewarding herb which will inevitably find its purpose in your house.

In case that you have some exciting ways of harvesting and storing rosemary, please let me know in the comment section below.

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