Last Updated : Jan 30,2018
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Oregano means “mountain joy” and true to its name, it has a warm, balsamic and aromatic flavour, which makes it a perfect addition to Mediterranean and Mexican dishes. It is a commonly used herb, and if you have tasted a tomato based pasta or pizza, you would surely have revelled in its hearty and assertive flavour.
Oregano is known botanically as Origanum vulgare, and is available throughout the year. It is a small shrub with multi-branched stems covered with small greyish-green oval leaves and small white or pink flowers. It grows quite easily and can be an apt addition to your kitchen garden! The flavour of the oregano depends on the region where it is cultivated. The flavour is sharper in hotter weathers.
Chopped fresh oregano
Wash and dry the oregano sprigs. Strip whole leaves from the stems and discard any leaf with a pale yellow or brown colour. Using a sharp knife, chop the sorted leaves thickly or thinly as preferred.
How to Select
• Whenever possible, choose fresh oregano over the dried herb since it has a better flavour.
• The leaves should look fresh and be a vibrant green in colour, while the stems should be firm.
• They should be free from darks spots or yellowing.
• Next time you enjoy a slice of pizza, garnish it with some fresh oregano.
• Oregano goes great with sautéed mushrooms and onions.
• Adding a few sprigs of fresh oregano to a container of olive oil will infuse the oil with the essence of the herb.
• Sprinkle some chopped oregano on homemade garlic bread, or add it to salad dressings.
How to Store
• Fresh oregano should be stored in the refrigerator wrapped in a slightly damp paper towel.
• You can extend the shelf life of fresh oregano by storing whole stems with leaves in a glass of water, with a plastic bag loosely hung over the glass, like a tent.
• Fresh oregano may also be frozen. To do this, first wash and dry the oregano sprigs. Strip whole leaves from the stems and place in a plastic bag loosely without crushing. Flatten the bag slowly to remove all air. Freeze in a corner of the freezer where it will not get crushed. No need to thaw before using.
• You can also mix chopped leaves with a small amount of water and freeze in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop out the cubes into a plastic bag and seal tightly.
• Use frozen oregano within one year.
• Oregano has been used for various medicinal purposes since many centuries.
• The Greeks made compresses from the leaves to treat sores and aching muscles while the Chinese used it to relieve fever.
• Oregano's medicinal power lies in the oil found in its leaves. The pure oil extract helps in the reduction of tooth pain. In fact, when poured into the cavity of the tooth, it acts as an analgesic.
• Oregano is also used to relieve loss of appetite, menstrual pains, nervousness, headaches and bronchitis.
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