The name oregano comes from the Greek ‘oros’ meaning mountain and ‘ganos’ meaning joy. Ancient Greeks used this freely growing herb to heal wounds and relieve poisonous insect and scorpion bites.
Culinarily speaking, oregano has a similar taste to marjoram, sort of earthy and fragrant and pairs well with tomato dishes. Maybe you’ve noticed most pizza shops have a jar of it on their condiment bar. It is often used along with rosemary, thyme, basil, marjoram and garlic in many Italian dishes.
Oregano is a hardy perennial that needs to be kept trimmed back or can easily take over an herb garden. Fortunately it works well fresh or dried.
Pick this herb fresh as needed or dry and even freeze for later use. If you purchase dried oregano use it promptly it does become less flavorful over time.
I like to use oregano in tomato sauces of course, but it is a member of the mint family like basil. This means it pairs well with lemon for beef, pork and chicken dishes.
Oregano shows up in a lot of spice rubs paired with assorted peppers and garlic. It works just as well in wet marinades and salad dressing. Just remember that a little goes a long way.
Enjoy a sprinkle of oregano on your next pizza slice and let me know what you think!