A pungent herb with a decidedly piny aroma, rosemary can be added to dishes in a variety of ways. Liven up a stew or sauce with whole sprigs that you remove at the end of cooking, or add a sprig to a bouquet garni. For long-term use, rosemary can be dried and its leaves stripped and transferred to airtight containers.
Fresh rosemary leaves remain tough, even if you cook them for hours. But you can transfer the flavor of rosemary to a soup or stew with whole sprigs; crush the leaves with your fingers, a rolling pin or a mortar and pestle first to release the aromatic oils. Or strip the leaves from the stem, chop them finely and leave them in the dish.
Dried rosemary leaves can feel like sharp needles. Use a spice mill or a coffee mill reserved for processing herbs and spices to pulverize dried rosemary into a powder. Or crush small amounts of dried rosemary in a mortar and pestle. If you don’t have one of these on hand, place the dried rosemary leaves between two sheets of waxed paper or inside a heavy-duty food storage bag and run a rolling pin across them to crush them.
References and ResourcesReal Simple: How To Chop Rosemary and Thyme
What's Cooking America: Herbs, Spices, and Seasonings Guide