Oregano is known in botany under the name Origanum vulgare and is very similar to marjoram. It is a small shrub with multiple stems, whose stems are decorated with small gray-brown oval leaves and small white or pink flowers. The Mediterranean climate year round grows the oregano plant, but in places such as North America, it is grown as an annual herb.
The warm, comforting and fragrant flavor of oregano makes it the perfect addition to Mediterranean and Mexican cuisine. This popular herb whose name means "mountain joy" is available in stores year round.
Health benefits of oregano
You may have seen the label "oil of oregano" in selected stores healthy foods. Surely there is a reason for that!
- There are effective anti-bacterial properties to consider. In Mexico, researchers compared oregano to tinidazole- a drug commonly prescribed for infections caused by the amoeba Giardia lamblia. They established that oregano is effective against Guardia compared to other commonly prescribed drugs.
- It is also an antioxidant. Oregano contains many phytonutrients, including thymol and rosemary acid, which act as antioxidants capable of protecting cellular structures due to oxygen damage. Moreover, one gram fresh oregano has been shown to have 42 times more antioxidant power than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than blueberries .
- It is a spice rich in various nutrients. Oregano is a very good source of fiber, which protects the colon from cancer-causing toxins and removes them from the body. Diets rich in fiber are good for lowering the levels of cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer.
- Oregano is useful in coughs, sore throats, flu and helps expectoration. It helps in painful menstruation too.
Brief description and history
Although many people think of pizza when it comes to oregano , it can add a soft, soothing and aromatic flavor to many different dishes, especially in Mediterranean cuisine.
Oregano comes from northern Europe, although it grows in many other parts of the world. It was revered by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who placed wreaths twisted from it on brides and grooms.
Selection and storage of oregano
- Whenever possible, choose fresh oregano instead of dried, as it is sweet.
- The leaves of fresh oregano should be fresh and bright green and the stems- solid.
- Prefer organically grown oregano.
- Fresh oregano should be stored in the refrigerator in a paper towel.
- Dried oregano is stored in a glass container with a lid in a cool, dark place.
How and what to use oregano for?
- Oregano should always be added at the end of cooking, to preserve its flavor.
- Whenever you make a pizza, add a few sprigs of fresh chopped oregano.
- Oregano is suitable for sauteed mushrooms or onions.
- Add a little fresh oregano to olive oil.
- Add oregano to your homemade garlic bread.
- Oregano is perfect for salad dressings .
- Add the oregano sprig in a bottle with vinegar or olive oil and it will acquire a sophisticated fragrance.
- Oregano is added just before the meal.
- Dried oregano is added to steaks and barbecue skewers and delivers exceptional flavor.