Oregano is a bold green culinary herb that comes from the tiny pungent leaves of a plant and is a staple to Italian, Greek, and American cooking.
What does oregano taste like?
The seasoning has a flavor that is slightly bitter, earthy, and peppery with a hint of mint while the aroma is pungent, robust, and woody.
Where does oregano come from?
Oregano (or origanum vulgare) is a member of the mint family native to the Mediterranean.
The name oregano is derived from the Greek word meaning ‘joy of mountains’.
Oregano seasoning is commonly used to improve the flavor of salty dishes like vinaigrettes, marinades, tomato sauces, stuffing, salad, herb mixes, and cream sauces.
The herb is most famous as a key ingredient in tomato sauce for pizza and pasta throughout Italy.
**Oregano is best added toward the end of cooking to retain its flavor.**
Before adding dried oregano to your dish, crush it a bit in your hand to help release essential oils and bring out the flavor.
Outside of the Mediterranean oregano became a staple in the US with the popularization of pizza in America.
- Marjoram: oregano is also known as wild marjoram due to their similarities.
- Basil: can be substituted when making oregano pesto or in light salads.
- Thyme: another member of the mint family, thyme works well in recipes in which oregano is cooked.
- Italian Seasoning: a herb blend that usually contains oregano.
Oregano Compliments and Pairings
The Mediterranean origin of oregano pairs well with olives, feta, pizza, rosemary, basil, garlic, olive oil, tomato, lemon, rice, potato, meat, fish, beans, vegetables, lamb, thyme, basil, aubergine, courgette, cumin, and coriander.
Oregano Expiration and Storage
- Fresh: wrap in a damp kitchen cloth and store in the fridge for up to a week, keeping the leaves on the stalk will prolong freshness.
- Dried: Stored in an air-tight container away from direct light dried oregano will maintain quality for 3-4 years.
Fun Facts About Oregano
- In Greek legend, Aphrodite grew oregano as a symbol of joy.
- American soldiers popularized oregano after eating the herb during their campaign in Italy in World War II.
Popular Oregano Recipes
- Oregano pesto
- Oregano infused olive oil
- Oregano and garlic grilled chicken
- Chilli con carne
- Snapper with olives and oregano
- Roasted courgette and pepper salad with oregano
- Feta and olive salad
- Greek lamb with oregano and olive oil