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Although fresh oregano adds appealing taste, the herb is among a handful that work well dried. Its spicier flavour is balanced nicely by cilantro, and it's a natural partner for cumin.
If you have an excess of fresh oregano, you can dry it by tying the stems together and hanging it in a warm, dry, well-ventilated place. Oregano dried at its peak will likely have more flavour than supermarket varieties, which can vary in age.
How to Select
Even through dried herbs and spices like oregano are widely available in supermarkets, you may want to explore the local spice stores in your area. Oftentimes, these stores feature an expansive selection of dried herbs and spices that are of superior quality and freshness compared to those offered in regular markets. Just like with other dried herbs, when purchasing dried oregano, try to buy that which has been organically grown since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated.
· Toast dried oregano leaves lightly in a pan and add them to your favourite chili or taco recipe.
· Drizzle olive oil over a hunk of feta cheese that's been topped with oregano leaves and serve with olives.
· Oregano can become overpowering and bitter if too much is used on foods with mild flavor. Taste as you go.
· Oregano goes well in just about any tomato dish. It also compliments vegetables with dominant flavors such as chili, spaghetti sauce, pizza, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower.
· Garlic, onion, thyme, basil, parsley, and olive oil are common complimentary seasoning partners.
· When using dried oregano, crush it in the palm of your hand before adding to the food. This helps release essential oils and revive flavor.
How to Store
As with all dried herbs, dried oregano should be kept in a cool, dark place in a tightly-sealed container and used within six months. It won't spoil if kept longer, but it will deteriorate greatly with time. Dried oregano should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place where it will keep fresh for about six months.
· Oregano is usually thought of as a culinary herb, but it has been used medicinally for thousands of years.
· Try a Tea made with Oregano for indigestion, bloating, flatulence, coughs, urinary problems, bronchial problems, headaches, swollen glands, and to promote menstruation.
· It has also been used in the past to relieve fevers, diarrhea, vomiting, and jaundice.
· Unsweetened tea can be used as a gargle or mouthwash.
· Externally, Oregano leaves can be pounded into a paste (add small amounts of hot water or tea to reach the desired consistency - oatmeal may also be added for consistency purposes). This paste can then be used for pain from rheumatism, swelling, itching, aching muscles, and sores.
· For tired joints and muscles, put a handful of Oregano leaves in a coffee filter, mesh bag, or cheesecloth bag and run steaming bath water over it. Allow it to steep in the tub with you as you relax in the warm, fragrant water.