Oregano__Joy_of_the_Mountain

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					Oregano: Joy of the Mountain

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464

Summary:
Oregano (Origanum vulgare), the herb known as „joy of the mountain,‟ is
featured in this article. One of the three essential ingredients in
Italian cooking, oregano can be grown both indoors and out. Cultivation
requirements and uses in the kitchen and garden are described.


Keywords:
Gwen Nyhus Stewart, B.S.W., M.G., H.T., is an educator, freelance writer,
garden consultant, and author of the book The Healing Garden: A Place Of
Peace – Gardening For The Soil, Gardening For The Soul and the booklet
Non-toxic Alternatives For Everyday Cleaning And Gardening Products.
She owns the website Gwen‟s Healing Garden where you will find lots of
free information about gardening for the soil and gardening for the soul.
To find out more about the books and subscribe to her free Newsletter
visit www.gwenshealinggarden.ca


Article Body:
Known as “joy of the mountain,” Origanum vulgare is commonly called
culinary oregano or Turkish oregano. Oregano is a close relative of
marjoram and is also known as pot marjoram. Similar in taste to
marjoram, oregano‟s taste is more pungent and has overtones of mint.
Greek oregano, subspecies hirtum of O. vulgare, is recommended as the
best type of oregano for cooking. Oregano is a half-hardy perennial that
can be grown outdoors as an annual or indoors as a perennial. Blooming
in early summer, Greek oregano has pink, white, or purple flowers, dark
green opposite leaves that are highly aromatic, and slim, squarish,
woody, branched stems. Greek oregano has a branching taproot and grows
in a clump. Used the world over in Italian, Mexican, and Spanish dishes,
Greek oregano is one of the three essential ingredients in Italian
cooking along with basil and marjoram.

Greek oregano grows 24 inches (60 centimetres) tall. Cultivation
requirements: does best in light, rich, well-drained soil; requires full
sun and a sheltered location; do not overwater and allow the top 1 inch
(2.5 centimetres) of soil to dry-out between waterings; pinch off flowers
to keep the plant bushy; do not over fertilise. Buy young plants or take
cuttings to propagate, as the flavour and aroma of oregano started from
seed may be disappointing. Start new oregano plants by layering stems
from existing plants. Pin down the stem, cover with soil, and keep moist
until you see new growth. Transplant new plants to pots or their new
location.

Greek oregano requires at least 5 hours of sunlight a day. If you are
growing oregano on a windowsill, turn frequently to ensure that all sides
receive equal amounts of light. Oregano can also be grown under
fluorescent lights. Hang lights 6 inches (15 centimetres) above the
plants and leave on for 14 hours a day.

In the garden, plant oregano with broccoli to deter the cabbage
butterfly. It is a beneficial companion to all plants, improving both
flavour and growth. Oregano can be grown in pots in the garden as well
as in the soil. In the kitchen, use in pizza, tomato sauces, pasta,
hearty soups, omelettes, cold bean salads, marinades for meats of all
kinds, cheese and egg dishes, and bland vegetables such as zucchini,
green beans, eggplant, potatoes, and mushroom dishes. Oregano blends
well with garlic, thyme, and basil. Oregano butter can be poured over
fish and shellfish just before serving or baking. Oregano has a strong
flavour so use sparingly and add during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

To harvest, pick small sprigs as needed. Oregano can be stored by
drying. To dry, cup off plants 1 inch (2.5 centimetres) from the ground,
tie plants into bunches, and hang in a warm, dry, shady location. After
leaves are dry, strip off and store in an airtight container.

				
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posted:3/2/2010
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