Oregano is called the pizza and pasta herb. One whiff of this aromatic, peppery herb and you’ll understand what I mean. Oregano was not grown in home gardens much in this country until after World War II. The soldiers coming home from Europe brought news of this delightful and flavorful herb, and soon it was showing up in American cuisine.
Oregano is a reliable perennial, and is easily grown. Give it plenty of sun, good drainage, and water until well established, then let Mother Nature take care of it. We have several varieties to choose from. Greek oregano is the gold standard with its dark green leaves and white flowers. Italian oregano has smaller, lighter colored leaves. For containers, try Turkish oregano or Hot & Spicy, both lower growers.
Oregano (and its cousin Marjoram) contains powerful anti-oxidants. Oil of oregano is taken for fungal and yeast infections. Oregano helps soothe sore joints.
Oregano, with its strong flavor, takes kindly to long cooking times. Using oregano will help cut down the need for salt. Add a few leaves to pasta and pizza sauces. Dry oregano for winter use. In fact, some folks prefer the taste of dried oregano over fresh.
Oregano Chile Vinegar
Not for the timid! Use in salad dressings, marinades for fajitas, beef and chicken dishes when olive oil is used. A few splashes in pasta, barbecue sauces, bean soups and stews will add some zing!
Fill a quart jar with a generous 1/4 cup fresh oregano or about 1/2 cup fresh marjoram. Bruise leaves with spoon as you fill jar. Add 4-6 cloves peeled garlic and 2-4 fresh or dried hot chilies (if using fresh, slit down center with knife). Cover with red wine vinegar. Cap with non-metal lid or plastic wrap, and let infuse for a week in cool place. Strain into sterilized bottles. Place a fresh oregano sprig, a garlic clove and a small whole chile in bottle. Store, covered, in frig.