Oregano is native to northern Europe. Greeks and Romans regarded oregano as a symbol of joy and happiness. Appropriately, it was a tradition in Greek and Roman marriage ceremonies for the bride and groom to be crowned with laurels of oregano.
The volatile oil of oregano contains thymol and carvacrol, two powerful antimicrobial agents. Oregano also has tremendous antioxidant activity.
How to Select and Store
Whenever possible, choose fresh oregano over dried, since it is superior in flavor and health benefits. The leaves of fresh oregano should be vibrant green in color and free from dark spots or yellowing. Fresh oregano should be wrapped in slightly damp paper towels and stored in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to seven days.
Quick Serving Ideas:
- Fresh oregano is a great garnish for your next slice of pizza.
- Sauteed mushrooms and onions are brought a new life with oregano.
- Adding a few sprigs of fresh oregano to a container of olive oil will infuse the oil with the essence of the herb.
- Frittatas and omelets are well complemented by fresh oregano and garlic.
- A sprinkling of chopped oregano is always a welcome addition to homemade garlic bread. Minced garlic can be added on top of the bread, or the garlic can be lightly rubbed on for a milder flavoring.
Source: Murray, M. (2006) The Condensed Encyclopedia of Healing Foods. New York, Pocket Books.