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Oregano is an important culinary and medicinal herb that has been used in medicine and cooking for thousands of years - with a number of potential health benefits.

Oregano has a very pleasant aromatic scent.Not only does oregano provide food flavor, there are also a substantial number of health benefits and anti-bacterial properties.

The herb is also applied topically to help treat a number of skin conditions, such as acne and for dandruff.

In culinary applications, where it is most commonly seen, it is used to flavor everything from soups, sauces, and curries to meat dishes, pizza, pasta, vegetables and even salads. Now, let's see how to grow this useful herb at our home garden .

HOW TO PLANT OREGANO

* Where: Oregano is a "garden anchor" that comes back .Oregano also grows well in containers, so if you live in a apartment or have a limited growing space, it is a great option. Oregano also performs well indoors, when given enough light and warmth.
* When: You can grow oregano by planting from a cutting taken from a healthy, established plant. If you are planting a cutting or small plant, make sure the it's getting enough sunlight .

HOW TO CULTIVATE OREGANO

Soil: Plant oregano in light, well-drained soil. Oregano actually grows better in moderately fertile soil, so no fertilization or addition of compost is necessary. I let my oregano do what it does on its own. My only complaint might be that I can't keep up with the harvest!

Sun: Oregano performs well in part to full sun, but the flavors intensify when it receives a full day of sunshine. Oregano will grow well indoors, but it is important that the plant receives sunshine in order to grow.

Unless you have a large garden and plenty of space, I strongly recommend planting oregano in a large pot. An attractive pot standing in a garden can add interest as well as provide a way to confine the plant. In favorable conditions, I have found that it spreads rapidly, Since it is a perennial, it tends to get bigger and bigger with each passing year.

Water: Don't overwater oregano. Water thoroughly, only when the soil is dry to the touch.

HOW TO HARVEST OREGANO

Mine grow to about eight inches tall, and then I cut back up to 2/3 of the plant And don't worry if you think you've cut back your oregano too much — regular trimming encourages new growth and prevents "legginess."

HOW TO DRY YOUR YOUR OREGANO

Use oregano from your garden.
* Harvest oregano Cut fresh oregano leaves with clippers when it is 6 inches tall, just before it flowers and in the late summer. This will help the oregano grow tall and strong.
* Put fresh leaves you plan to use right away in plastic bags in the refrigerator. When you prepare oregano for storage, you should use the fresh oregano first, because it has the most flavor.
* Cut entire stalks with and tie their bases together with a string.Hang your oregano up to dry. Gather leafy stems into a "bouquet" and hang them in a dry, well-ventilated area. Make sure to wash and thoroughly dry the stems before securing them together. You may cover them with a paper bag with slits cut into it, in order to keep the then dust-free and the air circulating.


HOW TO STORE OREGANO

Freezing
1. Strip the leaves from the stem and place them in plastic containers or zip-bags. Store them inside the crisper in the refrigerator.
2. Mix the finely chopped leaves of oregano in some olive oil or butter and freeze them in ice trays.
3.Oregano thus frozen stays aromatic and flavorful for at least 6 months. Frozen oregano is much tastier than dried form.

Drying Method
1. Make small bundles of the harvested sprigs of oregano and tie them with a string. Hang them in a cool dry place with good air circulation.
2. You can strip the leaves from the stems and let them dry out in trays from one week to 10 days.
3. A dehydrator or an oven could be used to dry out the oregano leaves, if you want to get this done quickly.
4.Store dried oregano in air-tight glass jars. The process of drying the aroma of the herb. So use such dried oregano sparingly.
Vinegar Preservation
Take oregano leaves and cider wine or white vinegar in a 1:2 proportion in a jar and leave it for a month or more. Strain it and store the fluid in a tight-lidded glass jar in a dark place. You could also add a few sprigs of oregano in the liquid for a stronger aroma.

Oregano tea is a pleasantly bitter tonic for the digestion and for colds and flue. So try a weak infusion first or mix it with other herbs like peppermint or chamomile. The safest bet is to enjoy ample quantities of it in your cooking. Your taste buds will thank you!!

I do make it a habit to drink oregano tea( I pour hot water to my fresh oregano leaf) and it makes me energetic the whole day. And it feel better each day and gives me a good night sleep after.

I have Oregano and Peppermint growing side by side in my garden and in pots I love that these perennials keep coming back year after year. Like peppermint, oregano spreads out quite a bit if you don't trim it. I assume that's the time to harvest when the leaves are tender and healthiest. I've always used oregano for cooking only, both dried and fresh. About a week ago, I decided to try oregano and peppermint tea steeped overnight in a glass jar. Amazingly delightsome tea. It is very mild, no bitter taste at all and the peppermint gives it a minty aroma. So I decided to grow more oregano because I intend to drink more of it

Shaminaz Deen
Author: Shaminaz Deen

Shaminaz is a home gardener. She gorws her own chilies, capsicums, mangoes and even roses. Cinnamon and black pepper.

She uses all natural ingredients to protect her plants from snails and bugs.

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