Oregano - Seeds
Oregano scientifically named Origanum vulgare by Carolus Linnaeus, is a common species of Origanum, a genus of the mint family (Lamiaceae). It is native to warm-temperate western and southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region.
Culinary oregano is a signature flavor of many Italian, Mexican and Spanish dishes. Most cooks are familiar with it in its dried form, but oregano is a hardy perennial plant that is easy to grow in the home garden. A handful of plants will provide you with enough oregano to use fresh in season and to dry for use throughout the winter.
There are many varieties, but the most common variety for cooking is Greek oregano. The more pungent Mexican oregano, Lippia graveolens, isn t really an oregano at all. Mexican oregano is often used in chili powders. Golden oregano is very ornamental, but not as flavourful.
Common name: Knotted marjoram, Oregano, Pot marjoram, Rigani, Spanich oregano, Sweet marjoram, Wild marjoram.
Color: Blue, Pink, White
Bloom time: Fall Bloom, Summer Bloom
Height: The plants will grow 1 to 2 feet tall and spread about 18 inches.
Difficulty level: Easy
Planting & Care
Sunlight: Bright light to full sun. At least 6 hours of direct sun per day. Turn plant for even growth because it will tend to grow toward the light source.
Soil: Plant in sandy, well-drained soil to prevent root rot. Mix 1 part all-purpose potting mix with 1 part sharp sand. Or, you can use cactus potting mix.
Water: Keep soil evenly moist.
Temprature: Average room temperatures 60-75°F, 16-24°C.
Fertilizer: Feed every 2 weeks spring through fall with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Harvesting: You can begin harvesting oregano when the plant is about 8 inches high. The flavour is most intense just before the plant blooms. Frequent harvests will produce a bushier plant and keeps foliage succulent. In fact, it s a good idea to cut plants back to about 6 inches at least twice during the growing season, leaving ample growth in fall to sustain the plant through winter.
- Drying I ve used both fresh and dried leaves in foods, and this is one herb that I usually prefer dried.
- Many chefs would agree.
- "Drying deepens the flavour and mellows it, so it s not as bitter," says Mark Carter, proprietor of the Carter House Inn and Restaurant 301 in Eureka, California.
- Cut oregano in the morning, after the dew has dried.
- Hang it in small bunches upside down, or lay it on screens in a warm, dry place.
- Once the oregano has dried (the leaves will be crisp), remove the leaves from the stems and store them, whole, in a glass container.
- To preserve the essential oils, wait until just before using them to chop or crush them.
- It’s the leaves that are used for flavoring foods, although the flowers are edible too.
- They retain their flavor better in hot dishes if added toward the end of cooking.
- Heating too long results in bitterness.
- Dried oregano has a stronger taste than fresh.
There are plants outside of the Origanum genus that are sometimes referred to as oregano.
Mexican Oregano can mean either Lippia graveolens or Poliomintha longiflora.
- They are considered similar in flavor, but stronger than oregano.
In Puerto Rico and Cuba, Plectranthus anboinicus can be found labeled as oregano.
Thymus nummularius is often used in place of oregano, in Spain.