Hello food lovers,
What you are looking at, above, is a photo of my oregano plant that has just been transplanted from a pot to a new herb bed in front of my home. Oregano is a great herb to grow in a pot (then you can take it inside during the winter), or right into the ground. Image cooking a nice tomato sauce and simply stepping outside to grab some fresh oregano. Chop it up…and voila…fresh flavor for your sauce.
Oregano means “mountain (oros) joy (ganos)”! What a great name to an herb that enhances so many different food flavors. Italian food just wouldn’t taste right without it – and it’s used in salads, stews, and Mediterranean and Mexican dishes. Here’s a few good ones:
How do you grow it?
Grown all over North America, it is usually considered an annual, but in warmer parts of the USA and in Mediterranean climates, it will survive all year. In my garden in Southern Oregon we are fortunate that it makes it through the winter just fine as long as I cut it back in the fall. It’s botanical name is Origanum vulgare. I currently have 2 types of Oregano in my herb garden – one is called Italian and the other is called Greek. They do taste a bit different though I doubt I could explain the difference in words!
Herbs are just amazing because not only to they enhance flavor, but they do all kinds of good thing for your body. Oregano contains compounds including thymol and rosmarinic acid. Thymol has been shown to reduce bacterial resistance to antibiotics by working synergistically with the drug as well as having the ability to reduce fungus (great news for candida sufferers). Rosmarinic acid is known for it’s antiviral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
Oregano is also a good source of fiber. It works with the body to bind bile salts and cancer-causing toxins in the colon, helping to remove them from the body.
How to Select and Store Oregano
As I mentioned, it’s easy to grow in a pot – on a window sill – or sunny window…or outside in a pot in the warm weather. Grower’s markets will be selling oregano plants in most parts of the country – right now! If you buy the herb fresh, store it in the refrigerator in a damp towel.
You can freeze it with some water or stock for addition into soups or stews. Dried oregano can be kept in a dark, cool place for 6 months. After that, toss it!
When you are using the dry oregano, if you place a good amount in the palm of your hands and grind it with your other palm, you’ll release the oils and flavor that get rather stuck in the dried herb. When you are using it fresh, the flavor is fresh, but not as concentrated as the dry herb, so you will use more volume than the dried version.
To your health,