How to Grow, Dry, Preserve & Use Oregano in Cooking

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Oregano uses in Cooking

  • Oregano adds a bitter, earthy, pungent flavor to dishes
  • To balance out other strong flavors like onions, garlic, thyme, lemon

How to use Oregano Leaves?

  • Fresh leaves can be used in place of dried Oregano. Fresh Oregano is stronger than dried Oregano, so taste test before adding too much
  • Dried leaves need to be crumpled in your fingers first, then added to your dish

How to Grow Oregano Indoors?

  • Plant seeds/new plant from a nursery in fresh soil and place in a container that is able to drain out the bottom
  • Place in a window that gets a lot of sun
  • Water only when the soil feels dry
  • Water until it starts draining out the bottom of the container
  • Grow the plant at least 4 inches tall before trimming the plant
  • Continue to clip the plant periodically to encourage new growth
  • Perennial – self seeding plant
  • Drought tolerant

How do you Preserve Fresh Oregano Leaves?

  1. Freeze oregano leaves right before the plant flowers. These will be the most flavorful plant leaves. 
  2. Store frozen leaves in an airtight container. 
  3. Thaw leaves for 10 min before using.
  4. Crumple leaves in your fingers, then add them to your dish to ignite the flavor.

How to Dry Fresh Oregano?

  1. Clip oregano stocks right before it flowers
  2. Tie stocks together at the bottom
  3. Hang Oregano upside down
  4. Let dry for 3 days in the sun/or ~7 days inside (place a paper bag underneath so it will gather any droppings if you’re drying Oregano inside. 
  5. After Oregano is finished drying, get a bowl to harvest your Oregano in.
  6. Place the bowl outside so you don’t get a mess everywhere inside.   
  7. Run your fingers down the stock gathering the leaves into the bowl.
  8. Multiple stocks can be done at a time.
  9. If you want a finer Oregano – use your fingers to grind the Oregano up into a smaller herb.
  10. Store in an airtight container.

What is Oregano Good for in Cooking?

  • Oregano is best known for being used throughout many mediterranean dishes including Greek salad, pizza sauce, and pasta sauce
  • marinades/rubs for chicken, beef and fish
  • Including in roasted potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, red onions
  • Add to pizza dough for extra flavor
  • Topping for breadsticks
  • Oregano pesto
  • Greek Salad
  • Infused oil for dipping sauce or focaccia bread
  • Herbed butter
  • Brown butter sauce addition
  • Olive oil pasta addition
  • Stuffing

Oregano Plant Types

  • Mild Oregano – Golden
  • Strong, pungent Oregano – Greek
  • Spicy Oregano – Syrian
  • Common Oregano – marjoram hybrid- Italian
  • Common Oregano

Marjoram is from the Oregano family. Marjoram is commonly used in Northern Italy instead of Oregano. It’s a bit sweeter, lighter flavor than common Oregano. It’s not as harsh or bitter as common Oregano. It’s usually only used at the end of cooking, because cooking Marjoram can kill off the flavor of the herb. Oregano is much more heat resistant. You can use Oregano early on in the cooking process without losing it’s pungent, bitter flavor.

margarita flatbread fresh basil
Oregano is a key ingredient in Pizza Sauce