When the summer months roll around and the growing gets tough, the tough get growing herbs. In season and shipping coast-to-coast, oregano is the herb of the week, and it absolutely deserves the spotlight. From taste, to health facts, to recipes, we’ve assembled everything you need to know about oregano.
Oregano is strongly aromatic with a slightly bitter, pungent flavor. It’s been described as having earthy green, hay, and minty notes and has a satisfyingly astringent mouthfeel. We love it for its distinctly warm and almost balsamic flavor that goes perfectly with all veggie, pasta, and pizza dishes. (Don’t your favorite vodka cocktail!)
- We hear a lot about blueberries and their antioxidants. Oregano has a full 4 times the amount of antioxidants as blueberries (42 times that of apples). On top of this, 100 grams of oregano contains 159% of your daily intake of calcium and 204% of your daily intake of iron. It also includes magnesium, vitamins K, and vitamin B-6.
- This little herb contains a compound called beta-caryophyllin which has immense anti inflammatory properties. As such, it’s great for muscle pain, acne, headaches, sore throats, and menstrual cramps.
- Oregano might actually have anticancer effects. It may also help treat osteoporosis, arteriosclerosis, intestinal parasites, heart conditions, and dandruff. And much much more.
Use of oregano is not intended to replace a relationship with a trusted medical professional.
What You Didn’t Know
- Ancient Greeks adored oregano. Oregano derives from the greek word oros which means “mountain” and ganos which means “joy.” Legend has it that the goddess of love Aphrodite created oregano and grew it in her garden on Mount Olympus.
- Because oregano is so tied to Aphrodite, it’s largely associated with love. In Ancient Greece, people would rub themselves with oregano before they slept with the hopes that they would dream of who their future spouse was destined to be.
- It’s highly superstitious — in the best way. Oregano is supposed to bring good luck and good health to its carriers, it’s used in love potions and rituals to enhance relationships, and it’s said to protect homes from evil forces.
Traditional Homemade Pizza
It’s not the tomatoes or the cheese or the basil that holds a good pizza together — it’s the oregano. As such, we can’t tell you about oregano without featuring a classic pizza recipe. For more Italian classics, check out our Oregano Pesto and Oregano Olive Oil.
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 sprig fresh oregano
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- All-purpose flour
- 1 lb ball fresh pizza dough, at room temperature
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ¼ inch thick
- ⅓ tsp sea salt
- 1 cup baby arugula
- 2 oz thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into strips
- Place a 15x10x1 inch baking pan on the lowest rack of the oven and preheat to 475° F.
- Combine cherry tomatoes, 1 Tbsp olive oil, oregano, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until tomatoes are coarsely chopped (NOT puréed).
- Sprinkle flour onto an 18-inch long piece of parchment paper. Roll pizza dough atop it into a 14×18 inch rectangle. Spread sauce over the dough, leaving a 2-inch border around edges.
- Place pizza and parchment into a pan and bake for 10 minutes. Remove, top with cheese, and bake 5 minutes more or until pizza is crisp on the bottom. Pull from the oven, sprinkle with sea salt, top with baby arugula and prosciutto, and enjoy!
Time to eat up! Now that you’ve learned about oregano, you can’t tell us you don’t want it fresh in your kitchen.