Monday, June 11, 2012

An Ode to Drying Oregano...

It's the season for harvesting...yes, that's right, but we're talking herbs here.  My Oregano is getting ready to flower and I should have harvested earlier, but life gets busy. So I'm doing it now.   I try to harvest BEFORE it flowers, or I get so many new Oregano plants that they have become rather invasive.  Plus, it tastes better before the plant flowers.  So, trimming them back  is the way to produce more Oregano.  
You can purchase one of these plants at your local garden center or even Walmart has them in season.  Plant them and water well.  Give them lots of sun and let them go!  You'll love this plant and if you let it flower, the flowers are very nice too.  It's a great plant for the landscape.  Just make sure you don't plant it next to anything you may use toxic sprays on...or try not to use toxic sprays...??!!

I use Oregano for two different styles of cooking...these being Italian and Mexican.  I use it in my Italian Seasoning Mix and in my Taco Mix.  I find it adds a lot of great flavor to tacos and what-not.  Going back to the Italian side of the map, I love it on pizza and it figures greatly as the herb on them.

Harvest is simple.  Pick the uppermost tops of the plant and place them in your dehydrator trays to dry.  If you don't have one of these nifty appliances (this is my 3rd one and my favorite!) then tie the stalks by the bottoms, place them bottom side down in a paper bag and then hang the bag up until they dry.  You can also microwave dry them, see link here

The dried stalks...
Strip the leaves gently by pulling the leaves from bottom to top.
I stripped all the Oregano leaves while reading a book on Kindle...:)

Once you are done, put your dried herb in its own container and put it in a dark cabinet to store as light can destroy its essential oils (aka: flavor.)  
I prefer Oregano dried as it's such a strong herb, but I DO use it fresh because it's handy to do so.  I also like to cook it along with dried beans to give them much more flavor.  All in all, I love this herb and I hope you do too!  Blessings!

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  1. I never thought of putting oregano in mexican food! Gonna have to try it!

  2. YUM! I love greek oregano and it is so hard to find that style of plant.

    Thanks for sharing all the great drying techniques!!
    Take care,

  3. Oregano grows like a weed, I usually go through whole jar in the winter. I add it to soup, salads, sauces, actually in everything. I hand oregano in the basement. Then put in the warm not hot oven for like ten minutes. It is easy to crumble then. :)