Oregano

Oregano (US: /ɔːˈrɛɡənoʊ, ə-/,[1] UK: /ˌɒrɪˈɡɑːnoʊ/;[2] Origanum vulgare) is a flowering plant in the mint family (Lamiaceae). It is native to temperate Western and Southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region.

Oregano is a perennial herb, growing from 20–80 cm (7.9–31.5 in) tall, with opposite leaves 1–4 cm (0.39–1.57 in) long. The flowers are purple, 3–4 mm (0.12–0.16 in) long, produced in erect spikes. It is sometimes called wild marjoram, and its close relative, O. majorana, is known as sweet marjoram.

Oregano
Origanum vulgare - harilik pune
Flowering oregano
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Origanum
Species:
O. vulgare
Binomial name
Origanum vulgare

Etymology

The word oregano is derived from Spanish orégano, from Latin orīganum, from Greek ὀρίγανον (orī́ganon).[3] This is a compound of όρος (óros), "mountain", and γάνος (gános), "brightness", whence "brightness of the mountain".[3]

Description and biology

Oregano is related to the herb marjoram, sometimes being referred to as wild marjoram. Oregano has purple flowers and spade-shaped, olive-green leaves. It is a perennial,[4][5] although it is grown as an annual in colder climates, as it often does not survive the winter.[6][7] Oregano is planted in early spring, the plants being spaced 30 cm (12 in) apart in fairly dry soil, with full sun. Oregano will grow in a pH range between 6.0 (mildly acidic) and 9.0 (strongly alkaline), with a preferred range between 6.0 and 8.0. It prefers a hot, relatively dry climate, but does well in other environments.[8]

Taxonomy

Majorana syriaca - za'atar
Syrian oregano (Origanum syriacum)
Bombus lucorum - Origanum vulgare - Keila
Pollination with white-tailed bumblebee
Origanum vulgare young plant 2
Young plant

Many subspecies and strains of oregano have been developed by humans over centuries for their unique flavours or other characteristics. Tastes range from spicy or astringent to more complicated and sweet. Simple oregano sold in garden stores as Origanum vulgare may have a bland taste and larger, less-dense leaves, and is not considered the best for culinary use, with a taste less remarkable and pungent. It can pollinate other more sophisticated strains, but the offspring are rarely better in quality.

The related species, Origanum onites (Greece, Turkey) and O. syriacum (West Asia), have similar flavours. A closely related plant is marjoram from Turkey, which differs significantly in taste though, because phenolic compounds are missing from its essential oil. Some varieties show a flavour intermediate between oregano and marjoram.

Subspecies

Accepted subspecies:[9]

  1. O. v. subsp. glandulosum (Desf.) Ietsw. - Tunisia, Algeria
  2. O. v. subsp. gracile (K.Koch) Ietsw. (= O. tyttanthum) has glossy green leaves and pink flowers. It grows well in pots or containers, and is more often grown for added ornamental value than other oregano. The flavor is pungent and spicy.[10] - Central Asia, Iran, India, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan.
  3. O. v. subsp. hirtum (Link) Ietsw. - (Italian oregano, Greek oregano) is a common source of cultivars with a different aroma[10] from those of O. v. gracile. Growth is vigorous and very hardy, with darker green, slightly hairy foliage. Generally, it is considered the best all-purpose culinary subspecies. - Greece, Balkans, Turkey, Cyprus
  4. O. v. subsp. virens (Hoffmanns. & Link) Ietsw. - Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Azores, Madeira
  5. O. v. subsp. viridulum (Martrin-Donos) Nyman - widespread from Corsica to Nepal
  6. O. v. subsp. vulgare - widespread across Europe + Asia from Ireland to China; naturalized in North America + Venezuela

Cultivars

Example cultivars of oregano include:

  • 'Aureum' – Golden foliage (greener if grown in shade), mild taste: It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.[11]
  • 'Greek Kaliteri' – O. v. hirtum strains/landraces, small, hardy, dark, compact, thick, silvery-haired leaves, usually with purple undersides, excellent reputation for flavor and pungency, as well as medicinal uses, strong, archetypal oregano flavor (Greek kaliteri: the best)
  • 'Hot & Spicy' – O. v. hirtum strain
  • 'Nana' – dwarf cultivar

Cultivars traded as Italian, Sicilian, etc. are usually hardy sweet marjoram (O. ×majoricum), a hybrid between the southern Adriatic O. v. hirtum and sweet marjoram (O. majorana). They have a reputation for sweet and spicy tones, with little bitterness, and are prized for their flavor and compatibility with various recipes and sauces.

Uses

Culinary

Oregano (অরেগানো)
Oregano

Oregano is a culinary herb, used for the flavor of its leaves, which can be more flavorful when dried than fresh. It has an aromatic, warm, and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity. Good-quality oregano may be strong enough almost to numb the tongue, but cultivars adapted to colder climates may have a lesser flavor. Factors such as climate, season, and soil composition may affect the aromatic oils present, and this effect may be greater than the differences between the various species of plants. Among the chemical compounds contributing to the flavour are carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene.[12]

Oregano's most prominent modern use is as the staple herb of Italian cuisine. Its popularity in the U.S. began when soldiers returning from World War II brought back with them a taste for the "pizza herb", which had probably been eaten in southern Italy for centuries.[13] There, it is most frequently used with roasted, fried, or grilled vegetables, meat, and fish. Oregano combines well with spicy foods popular in southern Italy. It is less commonly used in the north of the country, as marjoram generally is preferred.

The herb is widely used in cuisines of the Mediterranean Basin, the Philippines, and Latin America, especially in Argentinian cuisine.

In Turkish cuisine, oregano is mostly used for flavoring meat, especially for mutton and lamb. In barbecue and kebab restaurants, it can be usually found as a condiment, together with paprika, salt, and pepper.

The dried and ground leaves are most often used in Greece to add flavor to Greek salad, and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies fish or meat grills and casseroles.

Oregano oil

OreganoEssentialOil
Oregano essential oil in a clear glass vial

Oregano oil has been used in folk medicine over centuries.[10][14] Oregano essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the oregano plant. Although oregano or its oil may be used as a dietary supplement, there is no clinical evidence to indicate that either has any effect on human health.[10][15]

In 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned a Utah company, Young Living, that its herbal products, including oregano essential oil, were being promoted to have numerous unproven anti-disease effects, and so were being sold as unauthorized misbranded drugs subject to seizure and federal penalties.[16] Similar FDA warning letters for false advertising and unproven health claims about oregano essential oil products were published in 2017 and 2018.[17][18]

Chemical components

Oregano contains polyphenols, including numerous flavones.[19][20]

The essential oil of oregano is composed primarily of monoterpenoids and monoterpenes, with the relative concentration of each compound varying widely across geographic origin and other factors. Over 60 different compounds have been identified, with the primary ones being carvacrol and thymol ranging to over 80%, while lesser abundant compounds include p-cymene, γ-terpinene, caryophyllene, spathulenol, germacrene-D, β-fenchyl alcohol and δ-terpineol.[21]

Drying of the plant material affects both quantity and distribution of volatile compounds, with methods using higher heat and longer drying times having greater negative impact. A sample of fresh whole plant material found to contain 33 g/kg dry weight (3.1 g/kg wet) decreased to below a third after warm-air convection drying. Much higher concentrations of volatile compounds are achieved towards the end of the growing season.[22]

Other plants called "oregano"

  • Cuban oregano or oregano poleo (Plectranthus amboinicus, formerly Coleus aromaticus), is also of the mint family (Lamiaceae). Sometimes also called "Mexican mint" or "Mexican thyme", it has large and somewhat succulent leaves. Not just a Latin American plant, it is also grown and used throughout the tropics, including Africa and Southeast Asia.
  • Mexican oregano (Lippia graveolens) is not in the mint family, but in the closely related vervain family (Verbenaceae), that includes e.g. the lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora). It is a highly studied herb that is said to be of some medical use and is common in curandera (female shamanic practices) in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. The flavor of Mexican oregano has a stronger savory component instead of the piney hint of rosemary flavor in oregano, and its citrus accent might be more aromatic than in oregano. It is becoming more commonly sold outside of Mexico, especially in the United States, where it is an important source of dried oregano. It is sometimes used as a substitute for epazote leaves; this substitution would not work the other way round. Epazote has a lighter, and even more savory flavor and citrus accent than Mexican oregano, and a very strong sweet tarragon-like flavor which might be its strongest component. When Mexican oregano is substituted for epazote, the base flavor less the tarragon-like sweetness is provided, and other corrections to the recipe may cover for the missing tarragon component of epazote, or the dish may be served without that flavor component. If epazote were substituted for Mexican oregano, many dishes would be overpowered by the tarragon accent.

See also

References

  1. ^ "American: Oregano". Collins Dictionary. n.d. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  2. ^ "British: Oregano". Collins Dictionary. Retrieved 25 September 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Oregano". Online Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper, Inc. Retrieved 6 October 2016.
  4. ^ "Origanum vulgare L. oregano". Plants Database, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  5. ^ "Growing Culinary Herbs In Ontario". Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  6. ^ Peter, K. V. (2004). "14.3.1 Growth habit of wild oregano populations". Handbook of herbs and spices. 2. Abington Hall, Abington: Woodhead Publishing Limited. p. 219. ISBN 1-85573-721-3. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  7. ^ "Herbs". Government of Saskatchewan. September 2009. Retrieved 30 January 2011.
  8. ^ "Oregano and Marjoram". Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Guelph, Canada. 17 October 2012. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Oregano, Origanum vulgare L." Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, UK. 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d "Oregano". Drugs.com. 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  11. ^ "RHS Plant Selector - Origanum vulgare 'Aureum'". Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  12. ^ Mockute, Danute; Bernotiene, Genovaite; Judzentiene, Asta (2001). "The essential oil of Origanum vulgare L. Ssp. Vulgare growing wild in Vilnius district (Lithuania)". Phytochemistry. 57 (1): 65–9. doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(00)00474-X. PMID 11336262.
  13. ^ Martyris, Nina (9 May 2015). "GIs Helped Bring Freedom To Europe, And A Taste For Oregano To America". NPR. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  14. ^ "Oregano". Plants for a Future. 2012. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  15. ^ "Oregano". MedlinePlus, US National Library of Medicine. 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  16. ^ LaTonya M. Mitchell (22 September 2014). "Warning Letter: Young Living". Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations, US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  17. ^ Ingrid A. Zambrana (25 July 2017). "Warning Letter: Absonutrix". Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations, US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  18. ^ Kimberly L. McMillan (31 January 2018). "Warning Letter: Long Life Unlimited". Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations, US Food and Drug Administration. Retrieved 18 May 2019.
  19. ^ Dragland, Steinar; Senoo, Haruki; Wake, Kenjiro; Holte, Kari; Blomhoff, Rune (1 May 2003). "Several culinary and medicinal herbs are important sources of dietary antioxidants". Journal of Nutrition. 133 (5): 1286–90. ISSN 0022-3166. PMID 12730411.
  20. ^ Tair, Asma; Weiss, Erika-Krisztina; Palade, Laurentiu Mihai; Loupassaki, Sofia; Makris, Dimitris P.; Ioannou, Efstathia; Roussis, Vassilios; Kefalas, Panagiotis (2014). "Origanum species native to the island of Crete: in vitro antioxidant characteristics and liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry identification of major polyphenolic components". Natural Product Research. 28 (16): 1284–7. doi:10.1080/14786419.2014.896011. PMID 24635145.
  21. ^ Teixeira, Bárbara; Marques, António; Ramos, Cristina; Serrano, Carmo; Matos, Olívia; Neng, Nuno R; Nogueira, José M F; Saraiva, Jorge Alexandre; Nunes, Maria Leonor (2013). "Chemical composition and bioactivity of different oregano (Origanum vulgare) extracts and essential oil". Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 93 (11): 2707–14. doi:10.1002/jsfa.6089. PMID 23553824.
  22. ^ Figiel, Adam; Szumny, Antoni; Gutiérrez-Ortíz, Antonio; Carbonell-Barrachina, Ángel A. (2010). "Composition of oregano essential oil (Origanum vulgare) as affected by drying method". Journal of Food Engineering. 98 (2): 240–7. doi:10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2010.01.002.

External links

Adobada

Adobada (Spanish for "marinated"), also spelled adovada, is a preparation for many dishes that are common in Mexican cuisine similar to tacos. Adobada is generally pork marinated in a "red" chile sauce with vinegar and oregano, but it can refer to different types of meat and to marinades closer to al pastor. It is generally served on small, pliable corn maize tortilla along with sautéed vegetables and cheese.

Adobo

Adobo or Adobar (Spanish: marinade, sauce, or seasoning) is the immersion of raw food in a stock (or sauce) composed variously of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar to preserve and enhance its flavor. The Portuguese variant is known as Carne de vinha d'alhos.

The practice is native to Iberia, namely Spanish cuisine and Portuguese cuisine. It was widely adopted in Latin America and other Spanish and Portuguese colonies, including the Azores and Madeira. In the Philippines, the name adobo was given by the Spanish colonists to an indigenous cooking method that also uses vinegar, which, although superficially similar, had developed independently of Spanish influence.

Chimichurri

Chimichurri (Spanish: [tʃimiˈtʃuri]) or chimmichurri is an uncooked sauce used in cooking; it comes in a green version (chimichurri verde) and a red version (chimichurri rojo) and originated in Argentina.It is made of finely chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano and red wine vinegar. The dominant flavors are parsley and garlic.

Greek salad

Greek salad or horiatiki salad (Greek: χωριάτικη σαλάτα choriatiki salata [xorˈjatici saˈlata] "village salad" or "rustic salad" or θερινή σαλάτα therini salata [θeriˈni saˈlata] "summer salad") is a salad in Greek cuisine.

Greek salad is made with pieces of tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, onion, feta cheese (usually served as a slice on top of the other ingredients), and olives (usually Kalamata olives), typically seasoned with salt and Greek mountain oregano, and dressed with olive oil. Common additions include green bell pepper slices or caper berries (especially in the Dodecanese islands). Greek salad is often imagined as a farmer's breakfast or lunch, as its ingredients resemble those that a Greek farmer might have on hand.

Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence (French pronunciation: ​[ɛʁb.də.pʁɔ.vɑ̃s]) is a mixture of dried herbs considered typical of the Provence region of southeast France. Formerly simply a descriptive term, commercial blends started to be sold under this name in the 1970s. These blends often contain savory, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. Lavender leaves are also included in products in the North American market. The herb mixture is typically used with grilled foods and stews.

Kokoretsi

Kokoretsi (Albanian: kukurec, Greek: κοκορέτσι, Turkish: kokoreç) is a dish of the Balkans and Asia Minor, consisting of lamb or goat intestines wrapped around seasoned offal, including sweetbreads, hearts, lungs, or kidneys, and typically grilled; a variant consists of chopped innards cooked on a griddle. The intestines of suckling lambs are preferred.

Lucban longganisa

Lucban longganisa is a Filipino pork sausage originating from Lucban, Quezon. It is a type of de recado longganisa. It is characterized by its use of oregano and its garlicky and sour taste. It is made with lean pork, pork fat, coarse salt, garlic, oregano, paprika, sugar, and vinegar. It can be prepared with or without the casing.

Marjoram

Marjoram (; Origanum majorana) is a somewhat cold-sensitive perennial herb or undershrub with sweet pine and citrus flavors. In some Middle Eastern countries, marjoram is synonymous with oregano, and there the names sweet marjoram and knotted marjoram are used to distinguish it from other plants of the genus Origanum. It is also called pot marjoram, although this name is also used for other cultivated species of Origanum.

Menudo (soup)

Menudo, also known as pancita ([little] gut or [little] stomach, from Spanish: Panza; "Gut/Stomach") or mole de panza ("Stomach sauce"), is a traditional Mexican soup, made with cow's stomach (tripe) in broth with a red chili pepper base. It shares a name with a stew from the Philippines made with pork and pork liver.

Hominy, lime, onions, and oregano are used to season the broth.

Oregano (software)

Oregano is a graphical software application for schematic capture and simulation of electrical circuits. The actual simulation is performed by the SPICE, Ngspice or Gnucap engines. It is similar to gEDA and KTechlab. It makes use of GNOME technology and is meant to run on free Unix-like operating systems such as Linux, FreeBSD et al.

Origanum onites

Origanum onites, the Cretan oregano, Turkish oregano, pot marjoram or Ellinikí rίgani in Greek (Ελληνική ρίγανη), is a plant species in the genus Origanum found in Sicily, Greece and Turkey. It has similar flavors as oregano. Its essential oil can be distinguished from other species such as Greek oregano (Origanum vulgare ssp. hirtum). It has antimicrobial activities.

Plectranthus amboinicus

Plectranthus amboinicus, once identified as Coleus amboinicus, is a semi-succulent perennial plant in the family Lamiaceae with a pungent oregano-like flavor and odor. It is native to Southern and Eastern Africa. It is widely cultivated and naturalized elsewhere in the tropics where it is used as a traditional medicine, spice, and ornamental plant.

Relleno negro

Relleno negro (black stuffing) is a cuisine dish from Yucatán, México, based on turkey, pork and mixed chili peppers (chilmole). It is traditionally prepared in the month of November in a festival called Hanal Pixán.The original recipe contains turkey, ground pork to make the but (meatball), tomato, chilmole, achiote, black pepper, cloves, cumin, oregano, epazote, garlic and boiled eggs. The black color for the stew comes from the mixture and toast of the chilies that are used in the chilmole, among which we can find: ancho chili, black peppers, cloves, cumin, natural achiote, burnt tortillas, sour orange juice, garlic, oregano and salt.

Salmoriglio

Salmoriglio is a Southern Italian condiment made of lemon juice, olive oil, minced garlic, chopped oregano and parsley, salt, and pepper. It is usually served with seafood or grilled and roasted meats.In some American applications, salmoriglio is served as a compound butter, slightly soft and whipped, containing Dijon mustard, lemon, olive oil, and fresh herbs.

Sorol (food)

Sorol is a Filipino dish consisting of chicken cooked in a coconut milk-based broth primarily made with ginger, Mexican oregano (kalabo), labuyo chili, and tomatoes. The dish originates from the island of Camiguin. It is a type of ginataan. It can also be made with pork, beef, or seafood. Mexican oregano may be difficult to acquire and thus some versions use other herbs like lemongrass, other types of oregano and/or sage.

Thyme

Thyme () is any member of the genus Thymus of aromatic perennial evergreen herbs in the mint family Lamiaceae. Thymes are relatives of the oregano genus Origanum. They have culinary, medicinal, and ornamental uses, the species most commonly cultivated and used for culinary purposes being Thymus vulgaris.

Tirokafteri

Ktipiti (Greek: χτυπητή), also known as Tirokafteri in some regions (Greek: τυροκαυτερή), is a cheese spread from Greece. The preparation of the dish may vary from region to region, but ingredients most commonly include feta cheese (sometimes combined with one or more other types of soft, white cheeses), hot peppers (such as red cherry pepper), roasted peppers, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, yogurt, or oregano. It is commonly eaten as part of a mezze platter, or by itself, with slices of warm pita bread. The dish has a spicy, salty taste, with mellow undertones of olive oil.

Za'atar

Za'atar (Arabic: زَعْتَر‎, IPA: [ˈzaʕtar]) is a generic name for a family of related Middle Eastern herbs from the genera Origanum (oregano), Calamintha (basil thyme), Thymus (typically Thymus vulgaris, i.e., thyme), and Satureja (savory). The name za'atar alone most properly applies to Origanum syriacum, considered in biblical scholarship to be the hyssop (Hebrew: אזוב‎ [eˈzov]) of the Hebrew Bible. It is also the name for a condiment made from dried hyssop leaves, mixed with sesame seeds, dried sumac, and often salt, as well as other spices. Used in Levantine cuisine, both the herb and spice mixture are popular throughout the Middle East.

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