Oregano

Home / Promptuary / Herbs / Oregano

Oregano is a perennial herb used for cooking and medicinal purposes. It is a hardy plant that is considered an excellent companion plant for vegetables in the garden like beans and cauliflower but not cabbage and or broccoli. This herbaceous plant has white or rose-purple flowers that bloom from late July to September used in making wreaths. The flowers also make oregano ideal for beautifying the garden and providing ground cover.

Oregano, in Greek, translates to mountain joy or mountain of happiness. Perhaps this explains why ancient Greeks and Romans crown newly-weds with sprigs of oregano. They believe this would banish sadness and make their married life happy. They use oregano essential oils to alleviate toothaches and the pain caused by rheumatism, and unburdened by aches and pains will surely make anyone happy!  

Oregano has medicinal and culinary uses. Healers use oregano is used to make poultice used as a balm for aching muscles or cure for scorpion or spider bites.

Oregano Trivia

  • One tablespoon of oregano has the same amount of antioxidants as a medium-sized apple.
  • Mouthwash contains two ingredients extracted from oregano: thymol and carvacrol.
  • Concoct love potions using oregano. 
  • Oregano is the International Herb Association Herb of the Year for 2005.
  • The philosopher Hippocrates used oregano as an antiseptic.

Oregano Buying Guide

Oregano is a hardy plant easy to grow, even for those with little experience in gardening. If you have a plant at home, then you will have a steady supply of fresh oregano leaves. You can also start making your supply of dried and crushed oregano for future use. You can buy potted oregano in a garden or nursery selling plants and gardening items.

If you are not growing your oregano, freshly-cut and dried oregano (whole, powdered, or crushed) are available in the produce section of supermarkets. Buy in small quantities unless you plan on freezing, drying, or storing oregano for future use.

There are true oreganos that belong to the Origanum genus, and there are also plants called ‘oregano’ that belong to a different genus.

True oregano

  • Oregano (Origanum vulgare) – This is also known as true oregano or Italian oregano commonly used in pizzas and tomato sauces. Its best-known variety is the Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare var. hirtum). Another variety is the golden oregano (Origanum vulgare var. aureum), which got its name for its gold-colored foliage.
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana) – This variety is commonly used in Southern Europe and the Middle East. This has a milder and less spicy flavor compared to Greek oregano.
  • Syrian oregano (Origanum syriacum or Origanum maru) – This is a common ingredient of the Middle Eastern spice mixture za’atar, which also includes ground sumac and sesame seeds.

Others:

  • Mexican oregano (Lippia graveolens) – This is a member of the verbena family that tastes like Greek oregano. This is common in Mexico and the Southwestern United States.
  • Cuban oregano (Plectranthus amboinicus) – This is a member of the herb family commonly used in the Caribbean, African, and Indian cuisine. Others call it Spanish thyme.

Oregano Production & Farming in Texas

Oregano is a sprawling plant that should be outside. It grows best when planted in a well-drained, slightly alkaline soil (6.8pH) and exposed to full sun. The ideal planting time for oregano is 6 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. The climate in Texas makes it a suitable place to plant oregano.

Pesticides:

In a study published in the Food Chemistry journal in 2019 entitled Food fraud in oregano: Pesticide residues as adulteration markers, researchers were able to identify several pesticides used on oregano plants. The most common are the following:

  • Chlorpyrifos (CPS) – This is an organophosphate pesticide used to kill insects and worms. 
  • Diphenylamine (DPA) – This is a post-harvest scald inhibitor for apples, which means using DPA prevents apples from getting brown spots when removed from storage.
  • Acetamiprid – This is an odorless insecticide.
  • Deltamethrin – This is a pyrethroid ester insecticide.
  • Pyriproxyfen – This is a pesticide effective against insect pests.
  • Cyfluthrin – This is a pyrethroid insecticide and common household pesticide.

Geography:

Oregano is native to the Mediterranean and Central Asia. It is a perennial plant in places where the climate is hot and dry. However, oregano cultivars that have adapted to cold weather are annuals because this plant cannot survive the winter.

Unlike other herbs that don’t do well at high temperatures, oregano can survive the hot and humid Texas summer because it is drought tolerant and enjoys the sun.

Turkey is the world’s leading exporter of oregano, while Egypt is the world’s leading exporter of marjoram. 

Packaging:

Freshly-cut oregano sold in groceries and supermarkets come in sealed transparent plastic packs that allow consumers to see the quality of the oregano. Dried and powdered oregano comes in either plastic packets, pouch packs, or bottles.

Eating Oregano

Oregano has a taste profile similar to thyme. It is zesty. Unlike other herbs that are more flavorful when fresh, oregano has a strong flavor when dried. Italian cuisine uses oregano in many of its dishes.

Storage:

Oregano leaves store well. If you have an oregano plant at home, you can harvest some of the leaves and freeze it, or you can dry the leaves and keep it in an airtight container. 

Transfer store-bought dried oregano in a bottle with a cap. Store this in your herb and spice cabinet or drawer, away from light and heat.

Put freshly-cut oregano you did not use inside a plastic bag and store it in the refrigerator. This way, you can still use the oregano but not after four days. Place a moist paper towel in the bag and leave some air in to extend its freshness to seven days.

Cooking:

In the US, the value of oregano is in its medicinal, curative, and healing properties. Americans started using oregano in cooking after World War II. American soldiers returning from Europe craved Italian food flavored by oregano.

Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare var. hirtum) and the Spanish or wild oregano (Origanum vulgare) are the two varieties recommended for cooking.

Oregano is a popular ingredient in Italian, Greek, Spanish, Mexican, Brazilian, Cuban, and Colombian cuisines. Perhaps the most common use of oregano is giving tomato sauce a hint of spicy, peppery flavor. The flavor of oregano complements food focused on cheese and eggs, like quiches, omelets, and frittatas. 

Oregano goes well with vegetables like zucchini and eggplant. It is also excellent as a bread flavor. 

Many people use oregano when making marinades and rubs. From among herbs and spices, garlic, thyme, parsley, and olive oil go best with oregano.

Nutrition:

Oregano has phytonutrients (thymol and carvacrol) that helps the body fight infections such as staph (Staphylococcus). Oregano is high in antioxidants, which help the body in preventing cell damage. Oregano is a good source of fiber, vitamin K, manganese, iron, vitamin E, tryptophan, and calcium.

  • Calcium: 1597.00mg
  • Iron: 36.80mg
  • Potassium: 1260mg

Nutritional Benefits:

If you have an upset stomach or if you feel tense, drinking oregano tea will help you relax. Drink oregano herbal tea for coughs and asthma. 

Oregano protects the immune system, detoxifies the body, improves digestion, and strengthens the bones. It improves heart and respiratory health and increases energy levels. It keeps the body from succumbing to diabetes and aids oral health by protecting the mouth from gum disease and tooth decay.

When Are Oregano in Season in Texas?

JANFEBMARAPRMAYJUNJULAUGSEPOCTNOVDEC
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • Oktober
  • November

One of the most salient benefits to eating seasonally is that you are effectively reducing your carbon footprint and supporting a more geographically sustainable food economy. We are rarely encouraged to think about the physical lengths our food travels before arriving on the market shelves. And all of this travel comes with a hefty environmental cost that is concealed from the consumer’s eye. Check other fruit and veg that’s in season in Texas.

Buy Local Farmfresh Oregano in Texas Directly from the Producer

mapMarkerGreyIrving

Braga Farms

mapMarkerGreySmithville

Crisp Farms

mapMarkerGreyRosharon

EcoGrow Farming

mapMarkerGreyPoint

Harvest Moon Garden

mapMarkerGrey

Hat and Heart Farm

mapMarkerGreyHouston

My Indoor Farm

mapMarkerGreyBrenham

New Leaf Nursery

mapMarkerGreyHouston

Old School Produce

mapMarkerGreyLake Dallas

Oliver’s Gardens

mapMarkerGreyPlum

Plum Fabulous Foods

mapMarkerGreyElgin

Pure Roots Farm

mapMarkerGreyMagnolia

Rain Song Farm

mapMarkerGreyArlington

Storm Farms

mapMarkerGreyAledo

TexSelect Farms

mapMarkerGreyMarion

Up in the Roost