Health benefits of humble herb

Rosemary leaves contain certain phyto-chemical (plant derived) compounds that are known to have disease-preventing and health-promoting properties.

The herb parts, especially flower tops, contain phenolic anti-oxidant rosmarinic acid as well as numerous health-benefiting volatile essential oils such as cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate and a-pinene. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal and anti-septic properties.

Rosemary leaves provide just 550 kilojoules per 100g and contain no cholesterol. Apart from nutrients, this humble herb contains many noteworthy non-nutrient components such as dietary fibre (37% of RDA).

The herb is exceptionally rich in many B-complex groups of vitamin, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin.

Rosemary herb contains very good amounts of vitamin A, 2924 IU per 100g; about 97% of RDA.

Fresh rosemary leaves are a good source of antioxidant vitamin; vitamin-C containing about 22mg per 100g, about 37% of RDA. The vitamin is required for the collagen synthesis. Collagen is the main structural protein in the body required for maintaining the integrity of blood vessels, skin, organs, and bones.

Rosemary herb parts, whether fresh or dried, are rich source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.

How to rustle up that perfect party menu:

APPLE AND ROSEMARY FRITTERSINGREDIENTS (serves 4-6)

2 eggs

125ml milk

130g self-raising flour

2 tablespoons castor sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

750ml oil for deep-frying

5 Pink Lady or Granny Smith apples, cut into discs 1cm thick, core removed

50g caster sugar

3 teaspoons rosemary, finely chopped

Whipped cream or ice cream, to serve

Method Step 1: Beat together the eggs and milk. Sift in the flour, the castor sugar and the salt. Stir until smooth. If you can, let the batter rest for an hour or so, or longer.

Step 2: Heat the oil to 190°C in a deep-fat fryer or deep heavy-based pan. Dip the apple slices in the batter and deep-fry a few at a time, turning once, until puffed and golden. Drain on kitchen paper.

Whizz the rosemary and the sugar together in a blender until the rosemary is blitzed into small pieces and well combined through the sugar.

Step 3: Dust the fritters with the rosemary sugar and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

From A Suitcase and A Spatula by Tori Haschka (Ryland Peters & Small, £18.99). From the same book try: Raspberry croissant pudding, France

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