Appearance and distribution of oregano Oregano
resembles another common spice — marjoran, so these two are often interchangeable. The
birthplace of this spice is the Mediterranean region. The adult plant reaches a height of 80 cm, its stem quadrifaceted, covered with soft fluffy hairs. The leaves are oblong-rounded in shape, dark green above, much lighter on the underside. In length, the leaves reach between 1 and 4 cm. The
oregano flowers are small, collected in inflorescence-panicles, red or white. The plant blooms during the summer period, until the end of August. It grows oregano mainly in open, well-lit places such as fields, hillsides and forest edges. But it is common among shrubs as well.
This plant has been acclimatized by European immigrants in the New World, and oregano is now ubiquitous in many regions of North America, except for the north of Canada and the US.
In some countries, such as France and the United States, oregano is grown as a cultural plant.
The use of oregano in cooking
Leaves and inflorescence plants are dried and grinded into small pieces. In this form, oreganos are added to first and second courses, and to sauces as a seasoning. Thanks to its savory, slightly bittersweet taste, as well as its pleasant subtle aroma, this spice is able to enrich almost any dish, especially in combination with other seasonings.
Inexperienced cookers often confuse oregano with marjoram, especially because of the outward resemblance. However, oregano has a stronger and sharper taste than marjoram.
From the time of ancient Rome, the works of a certain Celius Apicius, who had a reputation as a recognized gourmet and connoisseur of cooking, came to us. Apicius compiled a list of dishes especially popular with the Roman aristocracy. There was also a white sauce in it, which was served to roasted and baked pork. According to Apicius, this sauce included spices such as oregano, cumin and thyme.
Modern Italians continue the traditions of their distant ancestors. Oregano is widely used in Italian cooking. Very much like this spice and the Mexicans. And Russian cookers willingly use oregano, especially when preparing second courses, such as stewed meat. Some hostesses add oregano when pickling cucumbers.
In the cosmetics industry, this plant is used to flavor toothpastes, soaps and even lipsticks.