As any good 'Susie homemaker' would, I decided to plant an herb/kitchen garden. Keep in mind, I am a flower grower not a herb and veggie person.
I set out last year to see what all the craze was around herbs. One of my plant marker collections is herbs so why not? We had just added a great little raised bed so figured this would be my herb/kitchen garden. That being said.. off I went to the garden center.
Have you heard the saying "There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments"? I'm 'experimenting' with herbs! I purchased peppermint, oregano, lavender, and garlic chives. The lavender is behaving itself, but the oregano and peppermint are crawling all throughout the bed and the garlic chives reseeded and it looks like grass coming up all in the bed. Uffda!
Since these are such a pain in the...garden, I figured I better find a use for these little bugger.
(Planting tip: POTS NOT GARDEN)
Today lets tackle oregano.
Oregano is used in Italian and Mediterranean cooking. I know it is the secret ingredient in spaghetti sauce that makes it taste so good. ( Learned that from Andy Griffith show-episode where he eats three spaghetti dinners in one night ) Okay, my knowledge stops about there, so I went asking for information from my more experience herb gardeners. Here is what I found out...
So much information! I knew you could use it dried and fresh, but had no idea of its medical uses. I'll scratch the surface here with you...
Fresh Oregano Harvest Tips:
Flavor is best when harvested just before the plant flowers. This is when it will have the strongest flavor. If harvested after it flowers the flavor may be less or bitter.
Wash and towel dry the oregano, but careful not to bruise the leaves. Gentle does it! Lay out to finish drying before storing in the frig or infusing.
Uses for fresh Oregano:
(more than I can tackle in one post):
Add fresh oregano to your homemade bread recipe. Mince a few tablespoons and kneed into the dough.
Make your burgers pop by adding a couple of tablespoon when making the patties.
Make a pesto and toss with pasta or spread over bread. (Check out the recipe in the recipe section on this site.)
Mix a half of stick of softened butter with 3 tablespoon of minced oregano. Let harden in frig and spread on bread or use as seasoning under chicken skin before baking.
Infuse honey with fresh oregano: fill jar half full of fresh oregano leaves. cover leaves with honey and about an inch more. Put lid on jar and let sit in a sunny window for a week. When the leaves come the top, turn the jar to keep the leaves submerged. (The longer you infuse, the stronger the flavor) Strain leaves from honey when ready to use or when you have the desired infusion.
Wash and towel dry as mentioned above.Tie bundles of herb together with a string.Tape string to a wall out of the sunlight.Leaves will be crispy in a couple of weeks.remove leaves, crush to desired size and store in air tight container.
This is our little entryway. The drying oregano made a great accent piece, but I did stick waxed press and seal on the wall just in case the leaves would stain the wall.
Olive Oil Infused with Oregano has many uses. It is a natural anti inflammatory and pain killer. I am not a doctor! Don't use this unless you are sure you do not have an adverse reaction to oregano infusions. Be smart about what goes into your body! Oregano does not mix with some medications. Talk to your doctor before starting to use oregano infused oils. DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT.
How to infuse oil with oregano:
Start with a sterilized jar with sealing lid. Add equal parts olive oil and fresh, washed oregano leaves. Make sure the leaves are completely dry before infusion or you risk ruining the batch. It will go rancid and smell like crayons. You can kick start the infusion by placing the filled jar in a pan of water and heating, on low heat, for a couple of minutes. Cap off the jar and place in a sunny window. Turn or shake the jar a few time every other day to keep the leaves covered and aid in the infusion. After two week strain the leaves from the oil and place oil in sterile jar. This mixture will keep for a long time in the frig, up to a year.
How to use oregano infuse oil:
Here is the fun part... using what you made from what you grew! Keep in mind this mixture is potent! We are talking DROPS for dosages.
Rub the oil on sore joints for instant relief.
Ingest 3-5 drops, followed by a glass of water, once a day to help during cold season. Don't use more that a week at a time. One week on, one week off.
If you are sick, try using 3-5 drops two times a day, followed by a glass of water, but only for a week!
A couple of drops before a meal will aid in digestion
Oregano is an amazing plant, and I could go on and on about what I learned. This is only scratching the surface. Try what I have here or look further into oregano on your own and come back here to share what you learned too!
Original Post Date: June 1, 2020
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