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Mediterranean Greek Oregano

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Greek or Mediterranean oregano, like many herbs, comes from the mint family. Mediterranean oregano is very closely related to marjoram and is similar in appearance; in fact, oregano means marjoram in Spanish.

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Oregano and marjoram are in fact two different herbs and possess different flavor characteristics. Oregano has a milder, sweet aroma and flavor that matches well with thyme, basil, rosemary, sage and marjoram itself. It is used extensively in Italian cooking and is often found in pizza, pasta sauces and many other tomato based sauces.

Oregano Q & A

What is oregano used in cooking?

Oregano is an herb that is bursting with flavor. It is typically used in Mediterranean and European cuisines, specifically Greek and Italian cooking to add a woody, robust flavor. It is most commonly paired with tomatoes and is also a common addition to meat, fish, and different vegetable dishes.

Is oregano a vegetable?

Although some cultures may prefer to eat the leaves whole, it is not treated as a vegetable. Rather, oregano is a perennial herb that boasts a taste reminiscent of thyme, although slightly more bitter and a little zesty.

Where does oregano come from?

Oregano is thought to have originated from southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region. It comes from the mint family of herbs (Lamiaceae) and thrives in warmer climates. The oregano plant is native to western and southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region.

Is oregano good in spaghetti?

It’s actually a matter of preference. While most Italians prefer not to add oregano in spaghetti and other tomato-based sauces, many people prefer spaghetti with oregano. It imparts a powerful sweet yet slightly bitter taste that many people are sure to love.

Is Greek oregano the same as oregano?

There are many varieties of oregano. Although Italian cuisine uses oregano much more frequently, what most people refer to as “oregano” is actually the Greek variety, which is also the most popular oregano variety.

Is oregano a spice or herb?

Spices and herbs, while some choose to use interchangeably, actually refer to different things. They actually differ based on their origin. Spices typically come from seeds, barks, flowers, fruits, and the roots of plants and trees. On the other hand, herbs typically come from the aromatic leaves of plants. Using this definition, oregano can be correctly categorized as an herb.

Can I eat raw oregano?

The flavor of oregano is often too overpowering to many so many prefer to cook the herb or add it to dishes that call for it.

Which oregano best for cooking?

It is all a matter of preference. Many people prefer the Italian variety for its spiciness, which can be incorporated in Mexican cuisine, and its mild flavor that is best used in Greek and Italian cuisine. Others prefer the Greek variety for the fullness of flavor it adds to each recipe. So whatever you choose, you’re right.

Is it better to use fresh or dried oregano?

Many people find that dried oregano tastes better for dishes since it adds more flavor than fresh ones. Due to its milder flavor, fresh oregano is added during the last 15 minutes of cooking to preserve its flavor while dried oregano can be added early on.

What flavor does oregano add?

The flavor of oregano has been described as intensely earthy, strongly aromatic, and slightly bitter and pungent, which imparts an astringent feel in the mouth.

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