Best Type of Oregano for cooking

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a member of the mint family (Lamiaceae), which includes many other herbs, such as basil, rosemary, sage, and thyme. It is a perennial herb with ovate to oblong leaves that are 2-4 cm long and 1-2 cm wide. The leaves are opposite on the stem and have a hairy surface with an intense aroma. The flowers are white or pink and are borne in clusters. Oregano is native to Europe, the Mediterranean region, and Asia Minor. It has naturalized in many places including North America.

Greek Oregano and Italian Oregano are the best Oregano types to grow for cooking. These two types have the strongest and most typical oregano flavors and they can be grown quite easily.

In the following, you will find more information on the different types of Oregano that can be grown for cooking.

If you want to know how to grow oregano then consider reading our “how to grow oregano” guide right here.

What are the most popular Oregano types?

The most common oreganos used for cooking are Greek and Italian because of their strong flavors. 

Oregano is used in many cuisines including Italian, Greek, Middle Eastern, and Indian dishes. It is an ingredient in pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, minestrone soup, lasagna, eggplant parmesan, chicken cacciatore, and lamb stew. 

Oregano can be used fresh or dried. When using fresh oregano it should be added at the end of cooking so its flavor does not dissipate during cooking.

What types of Oregano are there?

There are many different types of oregano, and they can be distinguished by their appearance, size, smell, and taste. 

  • Common oregano (Origanum vulgare) has small, dark green leaves and white or pale pink flowers. 
  • Syrian oregano (Origanum Syriacum) has larger leaves that are lighter green in color, and its flowers are white or pale purple. 
  • Greek oregano /Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum Greek) has small, dark green leaves with a hairy surface, and its flowers are white or pale pink. 
  • Golden oregano (Origanum vulgare Aureum) has golden-yellow leaves, and its flowers are white or pale pink. 
  • Ornamental oregano (Origanum sp.) has small leaves that may be variegated in color (green with yellow or white stripes), and its flowers are usually purple. 
  • Italian oregano (Origanum x majoricum) has large, dark green leaves with a hairy surface, and its flowers are white or pale pink. 
  • Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana) has small, dark green leaves with a hairy surface, and its flowers are white or pale pink.

How to grow Oregano for cooking

The perfect conditions for Oregano plants to grow are full sun, well-drained soil, and moderate watering. They are drought-tolerant and do not need much fertilizer.

To grow Greek or Italian Oregano for cooking, start by buying Oregano seeds or plants. Then, plant the seeds or plants in a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Water the oregano regularly and fertilize it every few weeks. When the oregano is about 6 inches tall, pinch back the tips to encourage bushiness. Harvest the oregano when the leaves are big enough to use in cooking.

Oregano is a perennial in most climates, but it can be grown as an annual in colder areas. There are many different varieties of oregano, but the main difference is in the size and shape of the leaves. Some varieties have more flavorful leaves than others.

The most common mistakes that people make with their Oregano plants include:

  • Not enough sunlight
  • Too much water
  • Poor drainage
  • Incorrect pH levels
  • Lack of nutrients in the soil

These issues can lead to the death of a plant, but can easily be avoided.

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Written By Vincent

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