How Do You Pick Oregano So It Keeps Growing?

How Do You Pick Oregano So It Keeps Growing?

Oregano (Origanum vulgare), also known as thistle or herbaceous mayor, is a perennial, very aromatic seasoning herb that adds a special touch to many dishes, mainly in Mediterranean cuisine. Above all, it is a typical pizza seasoning. Its seasoning power is almost equally intense in fresh and dried state. Usable parts of the plant are leaves and flowers. It can be harvested fresh or preserved by drying for a longer time, depending on the need.

We show you how to properly cut and harvest oregano. A well-fitting cut in the appropriate places will make oregano grow strong, vigorous and bushy. There are different procedures to follow depending on the timing. Careless pruning can actually harm oregano. In the post, you’ll learn the best way to prune oregano for maximum harvest and beautiful, vigorous growth.

Oregano is particularly popular in the kitchen for seasoning.

Oregano, like thyme, rosemary or marjoram, is one of the most common kitchen herbs. Similar to basil on the balcony, oregano is very often sold in supermarkets, hardware stores or garden stores. For seasoning, oregano is very versatile. The tasty leaves make many dishes a culinary highlight.

Oregano properly cut and harvest is the best care for the plant

Oregano is a Mediterranean spice that originated in warm countries. Like thyme and rosemary, oregano is a semi-shrub. The plant sprouts new shoots in the spring. Old shoots from the previous year die over the winter and become woody. Thus, gradually the whole oregano bush lignifies from the root. The young shoots then resprout from the lignified part the next spring, but only at the lignified tips.

Dead woody parts remain woody and can not be revitalized. As a result, the shrub gradually becomes more and more bare at the top and the fresh shoots become shorter and shorter. Proper pruning can significantly slow down the process. Therefore, oregano properly cut and harvest is also essential for its care.

Oregano properly cut and harvest for kitchen use.

For kitchen needs, oregano can be harvested throughout the year. For this, you can harvest individual oregano leaves or even whole stems. For uniform growth, harvesting whole oregano stems is best. However, if you use a lot of oregano, the bush will soon be harvested. In this case, you can also just pluck leaves as needed. You can cut the oregano shoots with scissors. To do this, cut off about 10 centimeters above the ground above a pair of leaves. Do not cut into the woody part of the stem. If you do, no new shoots will grow. To maintain the beautiful appearance of oregano throughout the year, it is best to cut alternately from all sides.

The best time for harvesting is in the morning. The shoots then still taste particularly aromatic. This is due to the great essential oils. These are present at this time in a higher concentration than in the afternoon.

A generous harvest cut in the flowering season

Oregano blooms around June and July. The flowers are not only pretty to look at, they are also very aromatic. Therefore, it is a good idea to make a comprehensive cut during the flowering period and preserve it. To do this, cut the entire oregano to just above the woody part. If you want to overwinter the oregano, then just let it grow and do not cut back so that new fresh stems form and the bush can regain strength before it gets cold.

A generous pruning in spring keeps the oregano young

If you have overwintered your oregano, then the shrub needs a radical pruning in the spring. This can be done around mid-April when it no longer gets too cold at night. Pruning is best done before the new young shoots form on the shrub. Then cut the entire oregano bush completely to about ten centimeters above the ground, but without cutting into the woody sections. Treated in this way, the oregano sprouts again quickly and vigorously and forms new, young shoots.

Store oregano after harvest

After harvesting oregano, it’s time to use the herbs. Fresh oregano branches or leaves can be used directly after you have washed them briefly. If you want to cut and harvest oregano properly, you will probably have a surplus harvest after the summer cutting. You can preserve this harvest. To do this, hang it loosely in a dark and dry place until the leaves are dry. Then you can simply rub the leaves off and store them dry for about a year. Alternatively, you can freeze the washed leaves or put them in oil to make them last longer. When storing in oil, make sure that the leaves are dry beforehand and then completely covered with oil.

Grow oregano on the balcony and always harvest fresh herbs
Oregano plants are grateful balcony inhabitants. They only need a lot of light and a suitable pruning, otherwise they are very undemanding. If you also want to regularly use fresh oregano in the kitchen, we recommend growing oregano on the balcony.

Harvest time

Right time for harvesting

There is actually no special time for harvesting. Basically, it can be harvested fresh in portions at any time from spring to fall. Depending on the variety and the time of picking, the spiciness can be more or less intense. For example, it is stronger in the morning and during midday than in the evening or on rainy days. For a stockpile of larger quantities, oregano should be harvested when its seasoning power is most intense. This is the case between the end of June and September, when the dost blooms.

During this time, the content of essential oils is particularly high. The sun plays no insignificant role in this, because oregano is a true sun worshipper and intense sunlight further enhances its aroma. Consequently, this spicy herb should preferably be harvested when it is in bloom and on a sunny day. Ideally, it could already soak up a few days of sun immediately before harvest. Bees and other insects can also give clues to the optimal time, because they buzz around the dost during flowering.

Harvest stalks flowering

You can’t really go far wrong when harvesting oregano. What you need is a sharp pruning tool, a harvesting container and, depending on the method of subsequent preservation, sealable storage containers, twine or ice cube trays for freezing. Because of its comparatively long flowering period, dost can be harvested several times in bloom.

To do this on a sunny and dry day, it is best to cut the entire stems about a hand’s width above the ground. Care should be taken not to bend the stems in the process, as valuable essential oils could leak from the broken areas and the plants would lose aroma. Cut or remove brown and blotchy or damaged leaves from the stems.

By air drying

Freshly harvested oregano should be used as soon as possible. The part of the harvest that is intended for longer storage can be preserved by drying or freezing. If possible, the herb should not be washed after harvesting or before drying, as this would unnecessarily prolong the drying process.

As a rule, it is sufficient to shake them vigorously several times and wipe off loosely adhering dirt with your hands. The situation is different if the plants have been sprayed for whatever reason. Then they should be washed and then pre-dried on absorbent kitchen roll. However, this would cause the aroma to suffer.

for air-drying, tie several stems together in loose little bundles
hang in a dark, warm and dry place
place of drying should be protected from the wind, but still well ventilated
make sure there is enough space between the individual bundles
Air must be able to circulate and dry the herbs all around well
room temperature should not exceed 35 degrees
higher temperatures have a negative effect on the quality of the dried herbs
light also affects the quality
both can accelerate the decomposition process of the contained active substances and aromas
horizontal drying as an alternative to air drying
for this purpose, spread the stems on a not too large-meshed but air-permeable grid
this ensures optimal aeration

After about three weeks, the herbs are completely dried and can be stored accordingly. Since flowers and leaves can be used differently, it makes sense to separate the two after drying. The leaves can usually be easily stripped from the stems. The flowers of oregano are best cut off.

When stored in a cool, dry place, protected from light, this herb can be kept for up to a year, then the aroma and flavor are lost more and more. Herbs should be harvested and dried every year anyway. It is best to use airtight jars or cans.

Tip: The use of a commercial dehydrator is not recommended, it would completely destroy the aromatic substances. Drying in the oven would also cause the plants to lose much of their flavor.

By freezing
Freezing is a good alternative to drying, but is tedious for larger quantities. The best way to do this is by using ice cube trays. You first pluck the healthy leaves and flowers from the stems. The leaves are crushed and put into the ice cube tray. Then you fill up each compartment with water so that the herbs are completely covered with water, and freeze the whole thing. The frozen cubes can then be transferred to larger containers and stored in the freezer. Depending on the need, they can be easily removed later individually.

Possible uses
The uses of this seasoning plant are very diverse. It is not only a typical pizza seasoning, its spicy, slightly bitter and, depending on growing conditions, sometimes a bit pungent flavor adds a special aroma to sauces, soups, egg dishes, fish and meat dishes or salads.

This herb harmonizes particularly well with tomatoes and cucumbers. Unlike most other herbs, it can be cooked without any problems. In addition, it can be used to make a tasty oil that can be used in dressings as well as for marinating or frying. Its flowers are more of a decorative ingredient, but can also be used for herbal pillows.

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