Oregano is a herbaceous perennial plant, named for its pleasant smell. Latin name - Oregano.
The aroma of oregano and its taste noticeably enrich the dishes. The leaves of some varieties of plants used in the production of alcoholic beverages. Oregano is filled with volatile oils, bitters and tannins that can whet the appetite.
Its leaves, stems and flowers are used not only as a seasoning, but also as a medicinal raw material.
How to choose oregano
Oregano becomes covered with fragrant flowers in July-August. It is during this period, it is advisable to collect it. When self-harvesting grass or buying must carefully examine it. For storage is best to choose oregano, in which:
- no damage;
- a sharp and peculiar ethereal odor emanates from the flowers;
- leaves have a rich green color;
- when crushed, they immediately smell.
Only the tops of plants with flowers are suitable for drying oregano. Their length should not exceed 30-35 cm.
Storing fresh oregano
Oregano, like most herbs, remains succulent until the minute it was picked. Then there is a rapid loss of moisture, and the plant fades. Therefore, oregano should not buy “for later”. It should either be used immediately or provided with storage conditions.
To protect the oregano from wilting is possible for a period of not more than a week. The standard method of storing herbs is in the form of a bouquet delivered in a container with water. Do not interfere with oregano cover the top with a plastic cup or use modern devices for the storage of greenery. The bouquet should be put in the fridge. The optimum temperature for keeping oregano fresh is from 5 to 10 degrees. Therefore, a bouquet with grass should be placed away from the freezer. The refrigerator door is the perfect place to keep fresh oregano. Water should be changed every day.
Long-term storage of dried oregano
Oregano is suitable for use in dried and frozen form. Most of its beneficial properties are preserved after being treated with heat or cold.
As a medicinal raw oregano is best stored in a dried state. In summer, grass can be prepared outdoors. For drying choose one of the ways:
- Gather the grass in small bunches, bind (not tight) and hang flowers down.
- Arrange the stems of oregano on a flat surface (on the board, baking sheet), which is covered with thick paper. The grass layer should not be thicker than 4-5 cm. Periodically, the stems are turned over so that the drying takes place evenly and the oregano does not start to mold.
Using one of the methods assumes that the plant dries under a canopy and the sun's rays do not fall on it. The room should be well ventilated, but draft is undesirable.
Oregano, dried correctly, almost does not change color. The smell and taste of the grass is preserved, and the structure is transformed: the stems become brittle, the leaves crumble easily.
Dried oregano and powdered oregano should be stored in a glass container that can be tightly closed. To keep the grass you need to prepare a dark place with moderate humidity. Stored dry oregano up to three years. Then it loses medicinal properties, but is suitable for flavoring baths. Oregano can be stored completely. The conditions of its maintenance are the same, but the container should be a canvas bag or a paper bag. Shelf life of grass is not more than 1, 5 years.
Storing oregano with freezing
Regular freezing in a plastic bag does not ensure the preservation of the original taste of the herb and its beneficial components. It is preferable to use in the processing of cold olive oil or melted cream:
- Oregano leaves are cut off, washed and dried.
- Finely chopped.
- Placed in a container with cling film at the bottom. Fill tare approximately 2/3.
- Fill with oil so that it completely covers the green.
- Cover the container with a lid and send it to the freezer for 5-6 hours.
- A solid piece is divided into small pieces, laid out in plastic bags and sealed.
- Send back to the freezer.
In frozen form, oregano is stored until spring and is used as a seasoning.
Oregano is a useful plant. It has antimicrobial properties, soothes the nerves and has a beneficial effect on the work of the digestive system. But it is necessary to use oregano carefully, because there are contraindications.