Oregano

Oregano is a culinary work

horse popular in Greek, Italian

and Mexican cuisine. Mexican

oregano is not from the same

botanical family as the Greek

and Italian varieties, however.

It is stronger in flavor and is not

an ideal substitute for the other

types in recipes.

Some types of oregano are more

prized for their ornamental

qualities than for their culinary

appeal, however. ‘Kent Beauty’

is one notable non-culinary

variety worth inviting into your garden. This show stopper is grown primarily

for its gorgeous hop-like flowers and

eye-catching trailing foliage.

Growing Tips & Facts:

Greek  and Italian oregano are part

of the mint family, along with basil, rosemary, thyme and many other popular culinary herbs. Like its siblings, these perennial varieties prefer full

sun, with some afternoon shade in hot climates. Plants will perform best in

well-drained soil.

In warm climates, Oregano is

evergreen. In colder areas, the plants

will need some protection in the form

of mulch or cold frames to survive the winter. Oregano grown in portable containers can be brought indoors for fresh flavor all year long.

Tips for Using & Storing Oregano

Oregano is one of the most popular culinary herbs for a reason. It is hard to imagine many classic Italian dishes, especially those featuring succulent tomato sauces, without its distinctive flavor.

There are a lot of ways to use fresh oregano, as well. It is delicious in baked breads or in herb butter. You can also sprinkle the leaves over mixed salad greens or add them to homemade vinaigrettes or marinades. Crush the leaves with your fingers a bit first to release more flavor.

Fresh oregano doesn’t stand up well to heat, however. Add it in the last 5 to 10 minutes of cooking instead. Use dried oregano in tomato sauces, soups or stews that require longer cooking times. Keep in mind, however, that oregano is one of the few herbs that is stronger when dried than fresh, so adjust the amount you use accordingly.

Oregano can be frozen alone or in ice cube trays with water or olive oil. It can also be dried and stored in an airtight container or preserved in butter for future use.