How to Harvest Rosemary – Picking Fresh Rosemary for Cooking

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Growing fresh herbs is an amazing experience, especially when it comes time to use them in the kitchen! Learn how to harvest rosemary so it keeps growing and you get the benefit of that delicious fresh herb in your next culinary creation.

When harvesting rosemary, you may want to take a pair of culinary shears or clean pruning shears with you. As you harvest some sprigs, you’re technically pruning rosemary and the plant will get the message to grow fuller and in new directions.

Few herbs have a place as near and dear to my heart as fresh rosemary. (Be sure to check out my post about my grandfather’s Garlic Rosemary Chicken to see just how much it means to me.)

I am sure you are excited about picking your own herbs, so here are my best tips on how to harvest rosemary from your garden.

Harvesting Rosemary Leaves - Fresh rosemary on a cutting board
Harvesting Rosemary Leaves – Fresh rosemary on a cutting board

When do you harvest rosemary?

Plan to harvest rosemary the most during spring and summer when the herb is actively growing. Technically, you can harvest rosemary anytime, but you’ll see the plant growing more vigorously during these warmer months. For best results, you may wish to cut some rosemary sprigs from the plant in the mid to late morning after the dew has dried.

How often do you harvest rosemary?

Depending on your culinary needs, you can harvest rosemary as often as once per week or even daily, depending on the size of your plants. You don’t want to cut away too much, so use discretion when deciding how often to pick.

How to Harvest Rosemary

Follow these simple steps on how to harvest rosemary so it keeps growing.

  1. Use sharp pruning shears to snip off a sprig of rosemary that is between 2 and 4 inches long.
  2. Continue to snip sprigs of rosemary from different branches.
  3. Allow the stems from which you’ve already harvested to grow back to a nice long length of 6 to 8 inches before you harvest from those again.

Tips on Harvesting Rosemary

Harvesting herbs like rosemary is pretty easy, but you can almost always expand upon a good thing!

Here are some tips to try when harvesting rosemary from your garden.

  • Consider growing multiple rosemary plants. Doing so allows you to harvest rosemary more plentifully without worry of taking too much at one time.
  • Attempt propagating rosemary sprigs you’ve cut! Remove the leaves you need for your recipe and stick the cut rosemary stems in some water. Get my full instructions on my blog post, How to Propagate Rosemary.
  • Store unused rosemary in water. If you accidentally take too much rosemary, stick the unused portions in water, cut side down.
  • Dry rosemary in a food dehydrator if you have one. For long-term storage, dried rosemary keeps longer than fresh.
Rosemary sprigs cut from the plant
Rosemary sprigs cut from the plant

Rosemary Rewards

Growing and harvesting rosemary is a truly rewarding experience! This aromatic herb brings such a pleasant scent to the garden and your outdoor spaces.

There’s nothing like cooking with herbs you’ve just cut from the plant.

Picking fresh rosemary on demand is way better than buying those clamshell packs at the grocery store any day.

You might even be able to root some of the stems you pick after harvesting the leaves!

Rosemary is a truly wonderful herb and I wish you such a successful experience growing it!

Definitely drop a line if you have any questions or best practices to share as far as the best way to harvest rosemary. We love hearing from you!

Happy Gardening!

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