If you are fond of pasta and pizza, then you have most probably heard of Oregano. It is a widely used herb. The Oregano herb belongs to the mint family called Lamiaceae. This flowering plant is a Mediterranean native. However, you will also find large production of Oregano in the Northern Hemisphere too.
This herb is used because of its exceptional traits. It improves savory creation and adds a higher flavor and aroma to your favorite dishes. Its fame started with its use in the pizzas by the Mexican nationals. And now, it is used almost everywhere around, like parsley and other herbs. In some parts of the world, this herb is also called the wild marjoram. Besides, it also has a long history of medicinal usage. Oregano has been used for medical purposes for thousands of years. But in the modern world, it is considered a culinary herb and is used for culinary purposes.
What does Oregano Look Like?
The plant of oregano is woody. It grows around 8 inches to 31 inches in height. The leaves have opposite structures. They grow opposite to each other with the size of 1 cm to 4 cm. The oregano plant is also filled with small flowers that make it attractive and eye-catching. The flowers are purple and have 3 mm to 4 mm in length. The flowers grow on the erect spikes. However, you may also find this plant with a little different structure because it is an ornamental plant and its looks may vary based on its type.
Where does Oregano Come From?
The most common and widely known type of Oregano, Origanum vulgare, comes from Greece. Among Greek people, this plant is famous for the joy of mountains. Besides, few other types also come from the Mediterranean regions. While in countries like America, its popularity started after world war II when the soldiers returned home and brought pizza to the country. And with time, its use increased, especially from 1948 to 1956.
How is Oregano Made?
Oregano is made of the oregano plant. When the plant reaches maturity, harvest the leaves. Then wash the fresh leaves, and they are ready for use. But if you need dry oregano, then after washing the fresh leaves, put them outside until it dries.
What Does Oregano Taste Like?
Oregano provides a unique combination of spiciness and sweetness. It has a very bold, earthy, and slightly bitter flavor. Its taste has been developed with essential oils, including thymol, pinene, carvacrol, and limonene. People mostly confuse oregano with marjoram. Though both belong to the mint family and have almost the same aroma and appearance, both are two different herbs. Besides, marjoram is a sweater than oregano. And has a higher lemony flavor than oregano. However, both of them can still be used as each other greatest substitutes.
How is Oregano Used in Cooking?
You can use both the fresh and dry forms of this herb for cooking. While cooking with dry oregano, you should put it earlier in the recipe. This will allow the herb to release flavor and aroma. But make sure to crush the dry leaves to have a more intense flavor. The fresh form of this herb has an aggressive flavor. So, be cautious with what amount you use because a higher quantity may ruin the taste.
What Types of Cuisines Use Oregano?
Oregano is used in almost all types of cuisines. It is widely used n Greek, Turkish, Mexican, and Italian cuisines. In addition, this herb is often used as garnishing or pizza topping. Italian sauces made of oregano are also famous all over the world. Other famous recipes include lemony Greek potatoes; chicken oregano combines with tomatoes and garlic, oregano pesto, and much more. Moreover, it is also used in seafood, beans, chicken, hamburger, pasta, and almost all cuisine that you can count.
What is an Oregano Substitute?
Like all other herbs and spices, oregano also has few substitutes. So, don’t worry if you get out of oregano or cannot find one because its substitutes can easily replace them. The list includes basil, thyme, marjoram, and savory. These ingredients might be different from oregano, but the right combination can easily provide the taste of this herb. Besides, for substituting fresh oregano, you can also use its dry form and vice versa.
Where to Buy Oregano?
Oregano is easily available everywhere. For fresh oregano, you can visit any vegetable store nearby and get it. However, dried oregano is a little difficult to find. Especially if you are looking for better quality, for this, we have few suggestions for you. In the following list, we have provided some best dry oregano.