Oregano

Add Oregano to Recipes for a
Tangy Mediterranean Taste

Oregano is a very strong spice. It compliments acidic foods like tomato sauces. In addition to traditional Italian dishes, this herb can also be used to flavor beef, pork, and bean recipes.

Mediterranean cuisine features many different varieties of this herb. Choose the heracleoticum species for a traditional taste. Try the marjoram variety for seasoning poultry. Mix these herbs with basil and thyme for a nice soup blend.

Planting & Care

If you start growing this spice from seeds, buy them from a reputable nursery. These plants cross-pollinate readily so getting seeds from a friend’s garden may yield unexpected results. Sow the seeds 12” apart and cover with a very shallow layer of soil. Or, start them indoors and transplant after all danger of frost is past.

Planting herbs like oregano in full sun yields the best results. The soil should be well drained but does not usually need to be enriched. Water this plant sparingly on a regular schedule for best results. Pinch off flowers as they form to lengthen the growing season for this perennial.

Growing Tips

This herb grows into a small, woody shrub. It can be easily divided at this point and used to create new plants. This spice also grows well from cuttings. Keep your plants pruned low to the ground for better leaf production. Trim off runners so they don’t invade other areas of your herb gardening plot.

If you are expecting a hard freeze, cover your plants with mulch or some other insulating material. They should survive through the winter. You can also try planting herbs in this family indoors in a container under a grow lamp or in a hydroponic solution. If you are growing this spice as a decorative border, trim it regularly to stimulate thicker foliage production.

Harvesting & Storage

Oregano can be used fresh, but its flavor actually intensifies as it dries. Cut the woody stems with foliage intact and hang them upside down to dry. Choose a location that is well ventilated and has low humidity to prevent the herbs from going moldy.

When the leaves are completely dry, strip them downward off the hanging stems into a bowl. Crush these leaves into fragments and store them in an airtight container.

Image courtesy of CC license by Flickr user Michael_Lehet

Oregano grows well with the other Mediterranean herbs on this list

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