Oregano is considered a culinary herb. It is widely used in dishes from chicken to pasta and breads. Oregano is widely used to season tomato sauces and pastes also, so grow lots for canning season! Use with roasted, fried, or grilled meats and vegetables and fish. Another perennial herb, this will regrow and spread for several years, however it is not cold hearty, so you may need to dig it up yearly in a cool climate or start new plants each year. The flavor actually is more pungent dried, so growing outdoors and drying is recommended, since you also will use a lot of it!
In folk medicine, oregano is considered to have anti-inflammatory properties. Active ingredients in the plant are considered currently to be believed to help fight infections, treat osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes.
As mentioned previously, Oregano does best outdoors although it can be grown well in containers indoors for fresh use. Oregano has its best flavor for cooking dried, but looses some of its medicinal qualities during the drying process so grow as per your usage.
Transplant outside if desired only after 60 days for best results. Oregano should be started indoors and transplanted for best results. Established plants can be dug and potted for indoors in winter and then replanted in spring after danger of last frost. Plant oregano anywhere you like for edible greenery to compliment a flowerbed, or in your garden.
HARVESTING AND STORAGE
Snip as many leaves as you require for your immediate need. Harvest enter plants for drying by cutting an inch above the bottom leaves of the stems. Leave to regrow. If you do choose to store for later use, you may refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week. Freeze in an airtight container for up to a month. Dry completely as whole leaves in a mason jar with air holes in the lid until a leaf crumbles easily upon touching. Replace the lid with holes with a regular lid and store dry up to 6 months.
HARVESTING SEEDS FOR FOLLOWING YEAR
Seeds will form on plants or sections of the plant that go without picking or pruning. Oregano will “flower” or go to seed. The seeds are tiny and will be full developed when they are dark brown to almost black in color. Remove all protective petals and shells, rinse, and allow seeds to dry on a paper plate or towel for 1 week. Store seeds in a sealed envelope for the winter. For extra protection against moisture put the envelopes together into a wooden or tin container (you can use Ziploc if you wish) and store in a cool dry location out of sunlight. The area you store seeds should NOT freeze however. A steady 50-60 degrees should be sufficient.