Oregano is a common herb that’s used for flavoring food and is similar to mint, basil, and thyme. It grows well in pots and makes a great ground cover. Oregano is known for its minty aroma as well as its sweet and peppery bite. It is usually sprinkled on the pizza but can be added to a variety of foods.
It’s easy to grow, which is why beginners can plant and grow this herb. However, many people don’t know what to do with fresh oregano, but this article includes the information that can help you out.
What To Do With All This Fresh Oregano?
The fresh oregano can be stored in the refrigerator for a few days, and even when it’s stored in optimum conditions, it will be challenging to extend its lifespan beyond one week. For this reason, we are sharing different ways of using the oregano;
- Dehydrate The Extra Oregano
Since fresh oregano cannot be stored for more than a week, it’s recommended that you dehydrate the extra because dry oregano has a longer shelf life (over twelve months if stored in dry areas).
The dried oregano can be added to cooking recipes, and you can use one teaspoon of dried oregano for one tablespoon of fresh oregano. There are three ways of dehydrating fresh oregano, including;
- Hand-drying – you can make bundles of fresh oregano by tying them together with the help of a rubber band. Then, you can use the rubber band to hang the oregano, but you must choose a dry and sunny room for hanging the oregano. It will take one to two weeks for the herb to dry up completely. Once the oregano is dried, you can strip off the leaves and crush them by hand to create a powdery and fine consistency
- Flat drying – it’s a suitable method if you want to dry a smaller quantity of fresh oregano. When the oregano is fresh, you’ve to remove the leaves and lay them down on the tray. You can put this tray in direct sunlight to dry the leaves, and once the oregano leaves are dried, you can crush them by hand
- Microwave drying – this is one of the fastest methods of drying fresh oregano. For this purpose, you’ve to remove the oregano leaves from the stalk and microwave them until the leaves are fully dried. The dried leaves can be crushed and sprinkled on the food
- Compound Butter
The compound butter is made with a combination of oregano and butter. It can be used for toast, or you can use compound butter to rub the meat and mix it in with veggies. To make compound butter, you can use ¼ cup of softened butter and three to four tablespoons of oregano.
Once the butter is mixed with herbs, you can roll it in the shape of a log by using parchment paper and harden it in the freezer. In addition, you can use silicone molds to make portions of compound butter.
Oregano can be used to make pesto, which is extremely easy to freeze – it can be used in the winter season as oregano only grows in the spring and summer seasons. To make pesto, you can grind fresh oregano with garlic, oil, and salt. Also, oregano pesto is perfect for people who are following a vegan diet.
This is another way of using fresh oregano, and oregano-infused vinegar is actually a great way of flavoring the marinades and works as a salad dressing. In addition, it can be added to vegetable recipes if the taste is too dull.
To make oregano vinegar, it’s recommended that you add fresh oregano, including stalks and leaves, to the sterilized jars and pour white vinegar to make sure the leaves are covered.
In addition to white vinegar, you can also use red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. Once the vinegar and oregano are mixed up, shake them properly and keep them in a cool and dark place for four to six weeks. After a few weeks, use a coffee filter to clean the vinegar.
In addition to the culinary uses, you can use oregano-infused vinegar to clean the countertops, toilets, showers, and tubs because it has antifungal and antibacterial properties.
- Oregano Tea
Another way of using fresh oregano is to make oregano tea, which is great for soothing the sore throat and helping settle the upset stomach. In addition, oregano tea can be used to fight the cold and help relieve headaches.
This tea has a peppery flavor but make sure you don’t consume more than four cups of oregano tea in a day.
The tincture is extremely easy to prepare, and you can use clear base alcohol (vodka is a great option) and mix it with fresh oregano. In particular, you have to remove oregano leaves from the stem and put them in the mason jar.
Now, add alcohol to cover the leaves but make sure you place parchment paper in the lid to prevent corrosion of the lid’s band.
Once mixed, you have to place the jar in a dark and cool place and make sure you shake them every week. The tincture takes six to eight weeks to be ready. When the tincture is ready, you must use the coffee filter to clean it and use it to flavor the tea.
However, it’s recommended that you submerge the oregano leaves in alcohol properly to prevent mold growth.
- Massage Oil
Oregano is one of the warmest herbs and has anti-inflammatory properties. Having said that, you can use fresh oregano to make oregano oil and use it for relaxing the sore and tired muscles. In addition, you can rub oregano oil on arthritic joints to get rid of aches.
It doesn’t matter if you have fresh or dried oregano; you can use it for baking savory bread. Oregano adds a robust flavor to the bread, which goes well with soup as well as pasta.
This is one of the most delicious forms of honey and has herbal properties, which makes it healthy. For making this honey, you can steep oregano leaves in honey for a few days to infuse antibacterial properties and peppery flavor to honey.
This is a combination of vinegar, honey, and herbs. To make oxymel, you can mix oregano leaves with vinegar and honey to make a healing yet delicious drink. Since oregano has antibacterial properties, this drink will help fight flu and colds.
Tips To Grow & Maintain Oregano
If you have a kitchen garden and need to grow oregano, you have to consider the planting site, the right planting time, spacing, and depth. To begin with, oregano should be planted in the spring season, especially when the frost has passed.
The temperature should be around 70 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure proper plant growth.
Since oregano is a Mediterranean herb, it needs full sun to grow and make sure that the soil is properly drained. In addition, you must not plant oregano around tall plants as they can create shade, which can hinder oregano’s growth.
Also, if you are planting multiple oregano plants, they must be eight to ten inches apart.
In case you are using seeds, they must be pressed into the soil as seeds need light for germination. To grow oregano, you should use sandy loam (the soil should be well-drained, dry, and light).
In addition, the soil should have a slightly acidic or neutral pH. Last but not least, you must water the oregano plant after a week because excessive watering can damage the roots, and the plant has tolerance for drought.
The Bottom Line
Oregano is one of the most beneficial herbs and can add fresh flavor to cooking recipes. In addition, it can be used to make medicinal tea for pain relief and tinctures to add flavor to recipes.
However, if you have a surplus of fresh oregano, it’s recommended that you dry them to extend the shelf life, as fresh oregano has a shelf life of only one week.