What to do with all this oregano?

grow_tallJune 8, 2009

I have a thriving oregano plant and I need some ideas on what to do with all of it. It grows all year so I don't need/want to freeze or dry it and then have to store it. I want to use what I am growing, but I am having trouble using more than a tip or two in the occasional recipe. Any ideas?

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Dry it and give it as a holiday gift. I dried a number of culinary herbs (including hot pepper and oregano) last year, put them in spice jars, made up some nice labels including clip art, and gave small herb sets to co-workers and relatives. I got a lot of nice compliments on it.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 4:55PM
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Oregano, once it takes off, can become a bit of a thug in the garden, though not quite as bad as mint. So you'll never use enough of it to keep it under control. Think of it as a useful groundcover!

However, oregano goes well in/with: Tomato sauce, egg/cheese combinations, breads, vegetables (especially squash, eggplant, tomatoes, beans, mushrooms, capsicum), meats, fish, chicken, pizza, pastas, Greek salads and sauces. Soups, stews, stuffings, sausage and pork.

You can also use the leaves in spells to gain a favourable outcome in lawsuits. They are also used to keep your in-laws away!

Here is a link that might be useful: oregano recipes

    Bookmark   June 8, 2009 at 6:41PM
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I have two gigantic patches of oregano that started as 4" pots...thugs indeed! It doesn't grow year-round here, so I do dry quite a bit of it for use over the winter. This year I will also be giving it as gifts. But that's really only a small portion of the oregano harvest-- may I also suggest oregano pesto as a good way to use it up. Just take your basic basil pesto recipe, use oregano instead. I make mine with pecans instead of pine nuts, lots of garlic, and leave out the cheese. I freeze it in 1 tablespoon lumps and toss 'em into a plastic bag in the freezer-- excellent for jazzing up pizza/pasta sauces, as a pizza sauce itself, as a spread for cheesy toast, stirred into beans, etc.

I also use a lot of fresh oregano when I make my yearly batch of pizza sauce. Also in chili.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 7:37AM
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All I can say is that I am jealous. I have 3 oregano plants that I recently planted and they are all too small still to provide me with enough for my pasta sauces without cutting too much of the plant. I hope they take off like yours did. I like lots of oregano in tomato sauce.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 6:19PM
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Sell it dried, in small bags & say it's something else.. ;-)

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 9:29PM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

I have an oregano invasion myself. I have been using it as living mulch on a couple of my 'perennial' pepper beds, it works great for that and I think it is a good pest detractor/deterrent/distractor as well. However, now I have to cut it way back since it is competing with the peppers too much (and some are vigorous jalapenos, almost 4 feet tall!). Last year I dried some, but I found myself using the fresh since I prefer it, and I always have some fresh around. It does as well in the winter as in the summer here, but best at the 'in between times' like now. I tossed the last batch in the compost/mulch pile, not a waste, but I wish I had better uses. I was thinking distilled oregano oil, but the equipment needed gets into some $$$. I like Fatamorganas' approach of holiday giving, but the holidays are so far away still! Where did you get all the spice jars by the way?

I give a bunch of fresh herbs to any friend that cooks and visits my garden, I really have so much more than I can ever use (different types), so people often come out of here with a fragrant 'bouquet'. Maybe distilling essential oils is worth a second look, do any of you herb-loving folks do that?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 2:02PM
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I got the jars at a local specialty shop that sells spices, herbs, and various baking ingredients. You could try something like Burch Bottle for spice containers.


    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 3:34PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Oragano dries well and retains plenty of flavor if its done right.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 1:07AM
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cabrita(9b SoCal)

Thanks for the link Fatamorgana, lots of choices!

Ken, of course it is easy to dry, and this is what I did last year. However, why dry it when I can go to the garden and get fresh oregano 365 days a year? Yes, I did not think of this either last year when I dried some, but then I figured the things might go dormant at some time. Never, oregano on call 24/7 here. Same with the mint. I do dry mint since I like it dried for tea though.

The exception to this would be when I prepare my own dried backpacking meals/mixes. Then I will select whatever fresh herbs would go in the 'dish' and dry smaller quantities.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2009 at 5:43PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Your lucky to have it fresh at all times, give some way and/or sell some. Here, its season is short and so I have to resort to drying most of the time.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2009 at 3:20PM
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Here is a reason to harvest and dry oregano. When it has sent up flowering branches, but before the flower buds are fully formed, that has the most flavor. Picking and drying it at this time is superior to the leaves at other times of year.It is also simple to dry this way, as the branches can be tied in a loose bundle, and hung easily.
Marjoram grows the same, marjoram is actually my very favorite. I have just picked a large bunch of the flowering marjoram stalks. I dry them hanging in a dark, breezy corner.When they are crisp enough that they will slightly crumble, I store in bottles.The flavor is so outstanding, so much better than purchased herbs.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 9:56PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Speady drying is always better for getting more smell and flavor. I would use a dehydrator. Allowing them to just air dry will cause about half of the flavor and character to fade away.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2009 at 2:08PM
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Chop it up fresh, put it in an ice tray with a bit of water, freeze. It still holds that fresh flavor once it's thawed.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2009 at 6:08PM
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