Home > Cooking with Herbs > Cooking with Oregano

Cooking with Oregano

By: Kate Bradbury - Updated: 31 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Cooking With Oregano Cooking With Wild

The herb oregano is a native of the Mediterranean region where it grows abundantly. Its Latin name, Origanum vulgare, means "joy of the mountains" (where it is often found growing). Oregano is well adapted to growing in the UK and has a better flavour if you grow it yourself.

Oregano is closely related to marjoram; in fact oregano is wild marjoram. Oregano is stronger in flavour than marjoram and has different uses in the kitchen. When cooking with oregano you should regard it as an entirely separate herb and use it in a completely different way. The oregano plant bears tiny leaves, which have a pungent scent and strong flavour. Its edible flowers are pink or purple and may be eaten in salads or used as a garnish. Oregano leaves may be used fresh or dried (the flavour is more pungent when the leaves are dried).

Oregano is the ultimate herb to use in tomato bases in pizzas. If you do not think you know the flavour of oregano, try eating a pizza without the herb, or smell a bunch of freshly picked oregano – it should remind you of pizza without you even having to try it. However it is widely used to flavour a number of other dishes, including spaghetti bolognaise, chilli and in a bouquet garni to flavour soups, stocks and stews.

Using Oregano in Cooking

If you grow your own oregano, simply cut off the desired amount with scissors or secateurs, leaving enough remaining so that the plant can grow back properly. To use oregano as a fresh herb, wash the bunch thoroughly and strip the leaves away from the tough, woody stems (if you are using oregano in a bouquet garni, don’t strip the leaves away from the stem but tie them to stems of other herbs).

Oregano works well with many tomato dishes, including pizza, spaghetti bolognaises, chilli and a variety of Italian dishes. It may also be added fresh to salads. Oregano compliments a variety of meats and vegetables with strong flavours such as those containing zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, aubergine and lamb. Oregano also works well with other herbs and flavourings, for example garlic, onion, thyme, basil, parsley, and olive oil.

Tips for Using Oregano in Cooking:

  • Add the oregano towards the end of the cooking process to maximise its flavour
  • Use oregano a little at a time – too much can cause the meal to become bitter
  • If you run out of oregano, you can substitute it with marjoram (however because of its milder flavour, use twice as much marjoram)
  • Crush dried oregano in the palm of your hand before cooking to help release the essential oils trapped within the leaves
  • Use 1tsp dried oregano for every 1bsp fresh oregano
Oregano is a versatile herb, used in many dishes and especially tomato-based dishes such as chilli, pizza and spaghetti bolognaise. It may be used fresh or dried, and has a more concentrated flavour in its dried form. It is a popular herb and is commonly used in Italian dishes.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopfully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Kaz F
    Re: Growing Horseradish
    Hi every summer my horseradish leaves get eaten, end up looking skeletal I've now put raspberry canes next to H.R. Will they be ok and what…
    5 February 2017
  • MARTNAMM
    Re: Growing Bay Leaves
    hw long does bay leaves tree take to begin harvesting.
    26 December 2016
  • none
    Re: Cooking with Sage
    What do I use to get too much sage in chicken and rice soup.
    3 December 2016
  • none
    Re: Cooking with Sage
    How do I get too much sage out of chicken and rice soup?
    3 December 2016
  • HerbExpert
    Re: Growing Coriander
    Mya - Your Question:Can you grow coriander in winter in a tub indoors?Our Response:We've never m
    28 October 2016
  • Mya
    Re: Growing Coriander
    Can you grow coriander in winter in a tub indoors?
    27 October 2016
  • James
    Re: Growing Rosemary
    I recently bought 4 Rosemary Plants. I planted them fully on compost soil and put 2 outside and 2 inside. All 4 of them died, the outside 2 has…
    31 August 2016
  • Myrtle
    Re: Growing Lavender
    Is there anyway of keeping English lavender blooming until September. Would a feed of tomorite encourage it to produce more buds. Many thanks
    29 July 2016
  • HerbExpert
    Re: Growing Coriander
    Linda - Your Question:My coriander was growing well and I had lots off of it. It then grew very long stems and I used the leaves and froze them…
    5 July 2016
  • Linda
    Re: Growing Coriander
    My coriander was growing well and I had lots off of it. It then grew very long stems and I used the leaves and froze them but it is now going…
    4 July 2016
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the HerbExpert website. Please read our Disclaimer.