Oregano – The More Intense Cousin Of Marjoram
Oregano is a member of the Lamiaceae family also known as the mint family. The leaves are small and fuzzy. The name of the species comes from the Greek words oros and ganos meaning joy of the mountain due to its pleasant appearance and pleasing aroma.
The herb is native to the Mediterranean.
The herb was popular in Greece, Rome, Egypt, Asia, The Middle East and North Africa in ancient times. The herb became a favorite in North American gardens during World War II.
The herb is purchased in bunches and should be fresh not wilted. The fresh herb will last for about a week if the stems are placed in water to keep the herb fresh.
There are different varieties of the herb which vary in color and appearance based on the country of origin. The European variety is an intense dark green almost black in color, the Chilean variety is pale green and other varieties have other scents and physical characteristics.
The dried herb should be stored in an airtight package, in a cool, dark place away from extreme humidity.
The herb goes is synonymous with pizza and pasta, also goes well with dishes that contain eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and bell peppers, also roast beef, lamb, and pork, meat loaf, tuna, and to flavor dishes such as Greek moussaka.
For additional information about oregano click on the link to Wikipedia.org
For some great sections on herbs and spices some great references are:
• The Spice and Herb Bible – Second Edition by Ian Hemphill with recipes by Kate Hemphill
• The Food Encyclopedia by Jacques L. Rolland and Carol Sherman with other contributors
• Field Guide to Herbs & Spices by Aliza Green
• The Contemporary Encyclopedia of Herbs & Spices – Seasonings For The Global Kitchen by Tony Hill
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