Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a distant relative of mint, basil, rosemary, sage and other herbs and has valuable healing properties and aroma. As a spice, it is widely used in Italian, Spanish, Mexican, Greek and Turkish cuisines. It is oregano that is the main spice for the preparation of real Italian pizza or Greek salad. This plant is a rich source of antioxidants, contains ascorbic acid, tannins and essential oil. It is no coincidence that in Europe and the USA, oregano is cultivated. In the wild, this herbaceous plant grows in the southwestern part of Europe, especially in the Mediterranean. In Russia, oregano can be found in forest edges, sunny meadows or dry meadows of a moderately warm climate.
According to an ancient legend about the origin of this plant, a servant of the Cypriot king Kinira accidentally spilled a bottle with his master’s favorite spirits. The young man was so frightened of punishment that he fainted and turned into a bush with the scent of those very spirits.
The conditions for breeding and caring for oregano are quite simple and will be affordable even for a beginner gardener. In return for your efforts, you will receive an environmentally friendly, self-grown seasoning for dishes, as well as healing raw materials for making tea, baths and inhalations.
Soil preparation: Oregano is a sun-loving plant that does not tolerate stagnation of moisture in the soil, so it is better to plant it in an open sunny place in dry, loose soil. This is a perennial plant that is recommended to be grown in the same place for several years, so the land should be fertile. To do this, it can be fertilized with manure during the autumn digging.
Breeding: Seeds can be bought at a specialty store. You can start landing in April. It should be borne in mind that the seeds are very small: 0.1 g. enough for sowing a territory of 10 m². If you are going to plant seeds in open ground, then they do not need to be buried, but only slightly sprinkled with peat! The first shoots should be expected 2 weeks after planting.
However, it will be safer to breed seedlings on the windowsill. It is recommended to start breeding in February, it is better at t +16 C. Transplant seedlings in open ground should be in May when the ground and air are warm enough. Usually, oregano bushes are planted at a distance of 20 cm from each other. If you do not have time for breeding seedlings, then you can buy ready-made products in gardening stores.
Care: Despite the fact that oregano does not tolerate stagnation of moisture, it needs to be watered regularly, preventing the soil from drying out. A beginner gardener does not immediately manage to find the right balance between sufficient watering and watering that is too plentiful, but over time you will learn to intuitively determine when your plant should be watered. It is better to water the plant not from a hose, but using a watering can with a small spray. Oregano is sensitive to weeds, so the beds need to be weeded regularly, while the soil is loosened. If the plant was planted too tightly, then it can be planted. Oregano bushes will grow better if you cut flowers from them.
Collection and drying of raw materials: Oregano shoots grow by 60-100 cm. Cut them better during flowering in July-September, when oregano exudes the strongest flavor. Typically, the shoots are cut at a distance of 50 mm from the ground, then bundled and dried in this form. Dried grass has a stronger aroma than fresh. Store dry oregano in places protected from light, removing leaves from the shoots.
Year-round care: As already mentioned, oregano is a perennial plant, so care must be taken not only in the summer. The plant propagates by seed or by rhizome division. If you are going to plant segments of rhizomes, then this should be done in early spring or autumn, after planting the beds should be watered. Oregano tolerates winter well, it is not necessary to cover the beds for the winter.
Last spring, cut branches of bushes are cut in order to stimulate the growth of new shoots.
As already noted, oregano is recommended to be grown in the same place for up to 3 years. When the bushes get stuck, they will need to be transplanted.
Oregano as a seasoning very fragrant and it should be added to dishes a little. It has a bitter, slightly burning taste. It goes well with black pepper and basil, complements marjoram. Oregano is used to prepare a huge variety of dishes:
- for meat: lamb, lamb, veal cooked in the oven or on the grill, as well as for cooking whites and home-made sausages;
- for various salads and vegetable casseroles;
- for egg dishes;
- for rich soups;
- for homemade noodles.
Oregano is an indispensable ingredient for the preparation of sauces, especially tomato, as well as gravy.
In Belarus, oregano is often added to pickles in order to give them a special flavor.
The plant is also used as a natural flavoring in the distillery industry, in the perfumery and cosmetics industry, in the production of toilet soap, toothpastes, etc.
Healing properties: As noted earlier, oregano is also used in folk medicine:
- for colds, acute respiratory infections, sore throat, whooping cough, pharyngitis and tonsillitis, oregano is used as a diaphoretic, diuretic and expectorant in the form of inhalation and teas;
- with periodontal disease and stomatitis, rinses with oregano are recommended;
- with neurosis, insomnia and headache, soothing tea with oregano is brewed;
- for rashes, eczema, as well as for the treatment of boils and ulcers on the skin, it is recommended to take baths with a decoction of oregano;
- with intestinal atony, gastritis with low acidity, inflammation of the liver
- with rheumatism and atherosclerosis;
- with amenorrhea.
A decoction of oregano is often part of medicinal restorative baths. The plant has hemostatic properties, improves digestion. However, those who adhere to a diet should keep in mind that tea from oregano increases appetite.
In addition, oregano will protect your things from moths.
© Thomas Then
Other useful properties: in addition to the valuable qualities already listed, oregano is also a honey plant with a honey productivity of 100 kg / ha.
For lovers of garden aesthetics, it should be noted that oregano is also a wonderful ornamental plant that will decorate your garden with a gentle cloud of white and pink or pinkish-purple, and will also exude a pleasant aroma.
Potato casserole with oregano:
For 4 servings you will need:
- 700 gr. boiled potatoes
- 500 gr tomato
- 125 gr. mozzarella cheese
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 bunch parsley
- ½ bunch of oregano
- 2 tbsp. l olive oil
- 100 gr. cream
- 1 tbsp. butter
1) Boil potatoes in salted water until tender, remove the peel, cut into circles.
2) Tomatoes and cheese cut into slices. Large chopped parsley and oregano.
3) Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. C. Heat the oil in a pan, squeeze out the garlic, parsley and oregano, mix in the oil. Then salt and pepper. Pour the cream and bring to a boil.
4) Put the potatoes, tomatoes and cheese in layers in a heat-resistant form, salt and pepper each layer. Top with cream with herbs. Cover with flakes of butter. Brown the casserole in the oven for 20 minutes.