View All Spice Definitions

Oregano

Information for Oregano

Oregano Closely related to marjoram, oregano comes from origanum, a plant species belonging to the lamiaceae or mint family. Native to warm temperate climates such as that of the Mediterranean and southwestern Eurasia, it is a perennial herb, but may also be grown as an annual in colder climates.

Oregano grows up to 31" (80 cm) tall with its olive green spade shaped leaves growing on opposite ends. It has 1/8" (4 mm) long blooms that are purple which grow in erect spikes.

Oregano carries a strong taste that is more pungent than marjoram. Generally, it is aromatic and warm with a slightly bitter taste. However some varieties may also carry a slightly sweet or spicy taste. The pungency of oregano depends highly on the variety, but most types are strong and should be used cautiously in moderation. Dried oregano leaves carry a more pungent aroma and flavor than fresh leaves.

As a spice, oregano is used most commonly in Southern Italian and American cooking but is also used in Turkish, Lebanese, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, Syrian, Greek, Philippine and Egyptian cuisine. It is a popular spice for meat, poultry, fish and vegetables. It also goes well with grilled and roasted dishes.



Photo Credit: RaeAllen