Oregano is a versatile culinary herb!
Here you will learn everything you need to know about this amazing herb and how you can use it in your daily cooking.
What is Oregano?
Oregano is a culinary green herb. The leaves are spade-shaped and are about ½-1 inch or 1-2 cm big.
The leaves can be used fresh or dried in our cooking. Dried leaves are more intense whereas fresh ones can complement other fresh herbs well.
The Oregano plant is native to the Mediterranean and has been used in traditional food and medicine for ages in the area.
The "true" oregano variety is known as greek oregano and that's one of the most intensive tasting types.
Wild Oregano is usually greek oregano.
Other oregano varieties such as the Italian, Turkish and Syrian oregano are similar in flavor and shape.
However, Cuban and Mexican oregano is another oregano variety all together but they have sometimes used the same way as you would use the Mediterranean oregano.
Oregano vs Marjoram
Marjoram is a form of Oregano, which is milder.
The plants look almost the same but the taste is different. Marjoram is kind of sweeter and less intense.
They can be substituted for each other wherever applicable.
What is it good for?
Oregano is primarily used in our food but it can also be a great home remedy.
Below some details, however, this post will focus on the food perspective.
In your food
Oregano is a great flavor giver and makes our food awesome.
Take for example pizza. What would be a pizza without some dried oregano sprinkled over it?
Dried Oregano is more commonly used in Italian and other Mediterranean food.
Fresh Oregano is not that commonly used but I personally prefer fresh oregano in my food to dried one. It's hard to describe difference. The food just tastes fresher and it has more soul.
I share more food recipes below.
As a remedy
Otherwise, the green herb has a reputation for killing germs and fungus.
You can make oregano tea with dried or fresh herbs, which may promote your digestion and inner well being.
Oregano essential oil has been popularized most recently. It can be taken in orally.
To take in oregano oil you will need a carrier oil such as olive oil. Take a tablespoon of carrier oil with 2-3 drops of oregano essential oil.
When you buy oregano essential oils, look out for the 100% purity label. Most oils on the market are not pure and the quality can be terrible.
Oregano oil is great if you have skin problems or stomach digestion issues.
Just keep in mind when taking it in, the dose makes the poison. Don't overdo it with your oregano oil.
What other ingredients can you use with Oregano?
Here are some ingredients that combine well with oregano.
- olive oil
- other herbs such as thyme, rosemary, savory
- ground beef
How to use it in your food?
Oregano herb dried or fresh is a typical Mediterranean food ingredient.
That means you can use it as a spice in Italian, Greek, Turkish, Spanish, South French, Syrian, Lebanese, Israeli/Palestinian food
I recommend that you experiment with fresh oregano. It's usually overlooked but adds so much flavor to a dish.
I have compiled a list of uses for your dried and fresh oregano below.
Using dried Oregano
Using fresh Oregano
Growing & Harvesting
Growing Oregano isn't too difficult, but it's easier if you start with a small plant instead of seeds.
The plant likes a lot of sun and can be grown in a pot or in the ground. Keep it in a well-drained mud bed.
It grows really well in a dry warm or cooler climate. It doesn't do so well in a humid tropical climate, but it can be done too.
If you live ina humid tropical climate I recommend to NOT grow oregano during the rainy season because the plant will get moldy and dry. Plant it in the dry season.
In the northern hemisphere, I recommend planting March/April. That way you can enjoy your fresh oregano the whole summer long.
The easiest way to harvest your oregano is to cut the stem close to the ground.
Keep a few stems with the leaves on together and tie them at the stem end.
Hang the "bouquet" upside down and keep a newspaper under that. The leaves will dry and some might fall off. The leaves fall off easily when dried.
You can also place your fresh oregano in a tray to dry. That's your second option but the first one is recommended so that the plants dry better without forming mold.
Crumble thicker pieces if needed and place into a spice jar. Keep them in an airtight transparent jar so that you remember to use it.
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Dear Reader, how are you going to use your oregano?
Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comment section further below!