Spices: Oregano: The aroma intensifies when drying

Spices: Oregano: The aroma intensifies when drying

Oregano doesn't only taste good in Italian pizza and tomato sauces. The delicately tart herb also ennobles soups, antipasti, grilled vegetables, meat and fish. The heat increases the aroma, so it is best to cook for at least 15 minutes.

Despite its distinctive taste, oregano goes well with other herbs from the Mediterranean cuisine such as thyme and rosemary and is part of the French mixture »Herbs of Provence«. Only with marjoram does the spice not work well, although the plants are closely related. Essential oils such as thymol and carvacrol are responsible for the characteristic fragrance and taste.

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a perennial, bushy perennial from the labiate family. The leaves are slightly hairy and pointed egg-shaped. It grows up to 60 cm high and occurs mainly in the Mediterranean. The plant appreciates the hot sun on mountain slopes, which also explains the name "jewelry of the mountains" (from the Greek, oros = mountain, gonos = jewelry). In the Middle Ages, oregano was important as a medicinal herb. It has an antibacterial effect, stimulates appetite, helps with indigestion and respiratory diseases.

In the garden, the plant prefers a sunny and warm place. The warmer and the sunnier, the more intense the aroma. The soil should be light, permeable and not too damp. The fresh leaves can be picked throughout the growing season.

Oregano is also easy to dry. While many herbs lose their aroma when dried, the seasoning power of the Mediterranean classic increases tenfold. The beginning of flowering is a good time for the harvest, since the seasoning is then highest. The kitchen herb is cut with scissors about the height of the hand. Then tie the plant together as a bouquet and hang it upside down in an airy place. (Heike Kreutz, aid)

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