Friday, May 01, 2015

Oregano

Long ago (in a galaxy far, far away), I planted some oregano. It escaped the garden and started coming up wild in the lawn. I also put some into a planter box out back. Each year, the patches of oregano come up green and strong, both in the planter and in the lawn. I read at some point that oregano has its best flavor when it's been dried. That's certainly true of ours.

Fresh oregano in the planter box, ready for harvest. There's a little bit of parsley on the right.

This is only the second year that I've harvested the oregano for drying. It truly is more flavorful this way, so I'm glad I tried it. I was surprised at how much I got this time, but it will not go to waste. In fact, now that I've sheared the plants, there should be another harvest in a month's time.

Oven-dried oregano, ready for the jar.

I dry it in the oven at a very low temperature. It takes between two and three hours to dry two trays full. Once it has dried, I remove the leaves from the stems and pack it into jars. It's picky work, but well worth the effort.

10 comments:

  1. If you pick only the flowers, you get an even more intense flavour.
    Same goes for Thyme.

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  2. Oregano changes its flavour over the season definitely. It's worth tasting it before picking to see if it's worth drying. It can get very cat's pissy in flavour, like all the mint family. Mine, which is the wild native which has just come of its own accord in the garden, is at it's peak now for drying. I'm not convinced about the flowering period. Some oregano garden cultivars have very little flavour too.

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  3. Have you ever dried celery leaves? I have and that's a really tasty herb to put into soup, for example, when you don't have any fresh celery. Also, if you mix celery (the leaves break into powder once dried) with salt, and use that when adding salt to something, you use less salt -- good for cutting down on salt. I should try some oregano. I've got plenty of mint growing all over the place, so it should do just fine.

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  4. Whenever I buy a big pied de céleri-branches, I blanch the leaves in boiling water for a couple of minutes and then freeze the leaves and liquid in small containers. Then I can add it soups and sauces as desired. I haven't tried drying the leaves, but next time I will.

    As for oregano, it goes really well with tomato sauce and with lemon sauces. It's more flavorful after the leaves have been dried than it is fresh. It's not something you eat by itself. It's a flavor that complements others. We also like Mexican oregano, which isn't oregano at all, but a kind of verbena. Haven't tried to grow that though.

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  5. It's quick work to dry herbs in the car on a sunny day. The smell does linger, though. Usually that's a plus, but sometime it just makes me hungry when I get in the car.

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  6. Wow, fantastic idea growing oregano

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  7. I also planted oregano a while back and it is like a weed!! I have been drying ours as well though I have not tried the flowers. Good luck 1st May Diane.

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  8. Yeah right. That's what I told the police.... it's dried oregano, really.

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  9. "REGano" (no initial "o" in phillyspeak) is so damn good on italian food!

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  10. I buy dried Italian oregano and it comes in a cellophane bag still in branches. To use it I just give the bag a scrunch and tip the bits that come loose out of the top of the bag. Saves all that "picky work." Sue

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