It’s the flavour of pizza…with a warm, balsamic, and aromatic taste. Easily identified by its oval leaves, purple-ish flowers and pungent scent, the perennial plant is native to the Mediterranean. The Oregano we know & love is the Mediterranean variety with a sweet taste that resembles marjoram and thyme.
HOW TO CHOOSE
Locally grown fresh Oregano is available at Ralph’s Farm Market for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The leaves of fresh oregano should look fresh and be a vibrant green, while the stems should be firm. This herb should be free from darks spots or yellowing.
Fresh Oregano should be wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel, placed in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator.
It may also be frozen, either whole or chopped, in airtight containers. Another method is to freeze the bits in ice cube trays covered with either water or stock that can be added when preparing soups or stews.
Oregano dries well. Tie the stems together and hang upside down in a well-ventilated, dark area to dry. Keep in an airtight glass container in a cool, dark and dry place, it will retain its flavor for over 6 months.
For herbs with stockier stems, such as marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme, it is easy to strip off the leaves by running your fingers down the stem from top to bottom. Discard the stems. Here are some more traditional methods:
To chop, hold the stems and gather leaves into a tight, dense bunch. Using a sharp knife, cut across the gathered bunch to chop coarsely. When all the leaves have been chopped, discard the stems.
To mince, take coarsely chopped leaves, with a rocking motion start moving a sharp knife blade back and forth across the leaves until they have been cut to the desired size and cut.
Oregano is a wonderful herb for Greek and Italian cuisine as well as Mexican and Mediterranean cooking. Goes particularly well with tomato-based dishes, but it is also very enjoyable for seasoning roasts, broiled pork, poultry, lamb, veal, fish, pasta, pizza, soups and vegetables such as broccoli, eggplant, lentils, mushrooms, and zucchini.
Cooking Tip To provide a more subtle oregano flavour to a dish, use the oregano as a brush. Tie the stems together, dip in oil and brush meat or potatoes.
Oregano is an excellent source of vitamin K and a very good source of iron, manganese, and dietary fibre. In addition, oregano is a good source of calcium , vitamin A, vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Therapeutically, oregano is used as a natural antibacterial and contains important phytonutrients, antioxidants, as well as fibre. But there’s more, it is also used to prepare a tea that is believed to be a treatment for indigestion, coughs, and to stimulate menstruation.
Oregano (per serving)
Calories : 100
Fat: 0 grams
Carbohydrates: 21 grams,
Protein: 3 grams
Dietary Fiber : 2 grams
Sodium : 440 mg,
Cholesterol: 5 mg
- Herbs add flavour to a meal without adding extra fat, salt or calories.
- Sweet Marjoram and oregano are so closely related that it only makes sense to discuss them together. Oregano, in fact, is simply the Italian name for wild or hardy marjoram. Oregano is known botanically as Origanum vulgare and is officially called wild marjoram in many parts of Europe.
- The Oregano herb’s name means “mountain joy.”
- Besides the common Mediterranian oregano, a Mexican variety does exist. Mexican oregano, which is grown from a different species of plants, is spicier and adds a more pungent flavouur to chili, salsas, tomato dishes, and sauces.