Spicy oregano gives many dishes of the Mediterranean cuisine the right zing. In order for the herb to fully develop its aroma in dishes such as tomato sauce or moussaka, it is important that you harvest and preserve oregano properly.
The right time to harvest
You can pluck oregano fresh from the bush throughout the summer and add it to salads, soups, sauces, meat dishes, pasta and egg dishes. Oregano does not need much care: give it a sunny and not too humid place in the herb garden so it thrives magnificently.
Oregano tastes most aromatic when dried
Unlike many other herbs, oregano develops the most intense aroma just before and during the flowering period. Harvest time is therefore from the end of June to the beginning of August. It is worth cutting and preserving larger quantities of oregano at this time.
Harvest herbs early in the morning
Since oregano is one of the sun worshippers, you should harvest it in the morning hours of a sunny day if possible. The flavor is particularly intense if the oregano has also been able to soak up plenty of sun in the days before. Refrain from harvesting when cool and rainy weather prevails, as the plant tastes much less aromatic at this time.
If you harvest oregano properly, you can preserve the flavor of summer for the cold season. Cut the branches of the oregano preferably above a branch. This will encourage the oregano to sprout bushy and strong. Remove brown and damaged leaflets and coarse dirt directly during harvest.
You will need for harvesting:
Sharp cutting tool. Kitchen or gardener’s knives are suitable, which must be well cleaned beforehand.
A harvesting container in which you can loosely spend the branches without bending.
Depending on the preferred method of preservation you should:
- Ice cube tray for freezing.
- twine or drying frames covered with gauze
- an adjustable dehydrator
- have on hand. If you want to dry the oregano, you will also need airtight, tinted storage containers.
The valuable ingredients
In addition to the essential oils that give oregano its unique flavor, the herb contains tannins, bitter substances and many secondary plant compounds. If you harvest and preserve oregano properly, you can harness the healing power of the plant during the winter months.
Oregano’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties have been proven in numerous scientific studies. Oregano is an excellent bacteria killer and has a disinfecting effect in the gastrointestinal tract. It also stimulates appetite and aids digestion.
Pour hot water over half a teaspoon to a teaspoon of the herb and you will have an excellent remedy that works for sore throats and flu-like infections. Oregano is also great for inhaling for sinus infections.
Tips & Tricks
The flowers of oregano serve as a food source for numerous insects. Bees in particular are magically attracted to its scent. It is recommended to wear gloves as protection against stings when harvesting oregano.