Not just a "sausage herb"
A floral fragrance and a mildly spicy aroma - marjoram is one of the most important spices in European cuisine. In Germany it is mainly used for hearty cuisine. It gives cooked sausages a special taste and is therefore also called "sausage herb".
Marjoram is a classic with potato dishes and meat, but it also refines vegetarian dishes. The Mediterranean spice makes digestible foods such as mushrooms, onions and legumes more digestible. In pizza and tomato sauce, marjoram can also replace its close relative oregano. However, the herb should be dosed sparingly, since it has a high seasoning power. The aroma is best preserved if it is not added until the end of the cooking time.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) belongs to the labiate family and is native to Asia Minor and the eastern Mediterranean. The plant grows to a height of 30 to 60 centimeters, has ovate, gray-green leaves and is pubescent. Marjoram is also well suited for the herb garden. The plant likes it sunny and protected, but does not tolerate waterlogging. A nutrient-rich, well drained soil is ideal. The best time to harvest is shortly before flowering from July to September, because then the content of essential oils is highest.
The ideal time of day is early morning or late afternoon. However, the leaves can be used fresh throughout the growing season. Incidentally, the sunnier the location, the more essential oils are included. In naturopathy, the herb is used for loss of appetite, gastrointestinal complaints, nervousness and colds. The ingredients worth mentioning are above all the essential oils and their constituents such as borneol, carvone, eugenol, menthol, thymol, as well as flavonoids, tannic acid, rosemary acid and vitamin C.
Marjoram is commercially available fresh or dried. A distinction is made between two types of dry goods: “Rubbed” marjoram consists of leaves and flowers, while a small proportion of the “cut” herb also uses stems. Since part of the floral note is lost when drying, the spice should preferably be used fresh. The leaves should be strong green and exude an intense smell when rubbed. (Heike Kreutz, aid)