Advertisement

Oregano

From Academic Kids

For other meanings of Oregano, see Oregano (Disambiguation)
Oregano
Missing image
ChristianBauer_flowering_oregano.jpg
Flowering oregano


Flowering oregano
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Magnoliopsida
Order:Lamiales
Family:Lamiaceae
Genus:Origanum
Species:O. vulgare
Binomial name
Origanum vulgare

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a spicy, Mediterranean, perennial herb, particularly common in Greek and Italian cuisines. It is the leaves that are used in cooking, and the dried herb is often more flavourful than the fresh.

Contents

Classification

Oregano (also called: Greek oregano, wild marjoram) is a member of the mint family, Lamiaceae.

Sensoric quality

Aromatic, warm and slightly bitter. Oregano largely varies in intensity: good quality is so strong that it almost numbs the tongue, but the cultivars adapted to colder climates have often unsatisfactory flavour.


Origin

Several species of genus Origanum are native to the Mediterranean, all of which are traded as a spice. The influence of climate, season and soil on the composition of the essential oil is greater than the difference between the various species.

The most important species are O. vulgare (pan-European), O. onites (Greece, Asia Minor) and O. heracleoticum (Italy, Balkan peninsula, West Asia). A closely related plant is marjoram from Asia Minor, which, however, differs significantly in taste, because phenolic compounds are missing in its essential oil. Some breeds show an flavour intermediate between oregano and marjoram (gold marjoram = gold oregano).

Oregano in cooking

Oregano is a conditio sine qua non in Italian cuisine, where it is used for tomato sauces, fried vegetables and grilled meat. Together with basil, it makes up for the character of Italian dishes; see parsley on Italian variants of bouquet garni.

Oregano can effectively combined with pickled olives and capers or lovage leaves; other than most Italian herbs, oregano harmonizes even with hot and spicy food, as is popular in Southern Italy. The cuisines of other Mediterranean countries make less use of it, but it is of some importance for Spanish, French and Greek cooking.

Pizza

The dish most associated with oregano is pizza, a kind of open pie: Bread dough topped with tasty stuff and baked. Bread of this kind was probably eaten in Southern Italy for centuries; according to the legend, pizza came into existence in 1889, when King Umberto and his wife Margherita sojourned in Napoli (Naples). Pizza, at this time not more than white bread flavoured with tomato paste, was then a popular food for the poor masses. To honour the Queen, a local baker devised a richer kind of pizza: In addition to the red tomato paste, white mozzarella cheese and green basil leaves were employed, thus reflecting the colours of the Italian flag. This invention became known as pizza Margherita and spread all over Italy and, with some delay, over the rest of the world.

Today's pizza relies more on oregano than on basil, and use a multitude of further ingredients: Ham, sausage, fish, shellfish, mushrooms, artichokes, onion, garlic, olives, capers, anchovies and more make pizza a sophisticated delicacy, although it had once been the poor man's sandwich.

Mexican dishes

The very similar, but stronger, taste of Mexican oregano (see above) is popular not only in its native country Mxico, but also in the south of the US, where it is frequently used to flavour chili con carne (meat stewed with chiles and sometimes beans) or other Mxico-inspired dishes. For this purpose, it is mostly combined with several varieties of chiles and paprika, dried garlic or onion and cumin).

Oregano growing in a field.
Enlarge
Oregano growing in a field.

Additional info

Catalan: orenga Spanish: organo

Origanum syriacum is the Bible Hyssop or Syrian Oregano.

Origanum laevigatum is the Purple Oregano or Ornamental Oregano.

Other plants called Oregano

Mexican Oregano stems from the plant Lippia graveolens (Verbenaceae) and is closely related to lemon verbena. 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. Although only loosely related to Oregano, Mexican Oregano has a very similar flavour, albeit stronger. It is increasingly traded, especially in the US. Its strong aroma makes it an acceptable substitute for epazote leaves if the latter are not available; this wouldn't work the other way round, though.

There is a significant taxonomic confusion about the term "oregano" in Mexican cooking. Several plants are named thus in different parts of Mxico, and there is little clear information about those. Some plants that have been identified as "Mexican Oregano" are Poliomintha longiflora, Lippia berlandieri and Plectranthus amboinicus (syn. Coleus aromaticus), also called Cuban Oregano.

External links

Template:Commons

da:Vild Merian (Origanum vulgare) de:Oregano es:Origanum vulgare eo:Origano nl:Oregano ja:オレガノ sl:Origano fi:Oregano sv:Oregano

Navigation

Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Art)
    • Architecture (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Architecture)
    • Cultures (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Cultures)
    • Music (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Music)
    • Musical Instruments (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/List_of_musical_instruments)
  • Biographies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Biographies)
  • Clipart (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Clipart)
  • Geography (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Geography)
    • Countries of the World (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Countries)
    • Maps (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Maps)
    • Flags (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Flags)
    • Continents (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Continents)
  • History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History)
    • Ancient Civilizations (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Ancient_Civilizations)
    • Industrial Revolution (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Industrial_Revolution)
    • Middle Ages (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Middle_Ages)
    • Prehistory (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Prehistory)
    • Renaissance (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Renaissance)
    • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
    • United States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/United_States)
    • Wars (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Wars)
    • World History (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/History_of_the_world)
  • Human Body (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Human_Body)
  • Mathematics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Mathematics)
  • Reference (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Reference)
  • Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Science)
    • Animals (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Animals)
    • Aviation (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Aviation)
    • Dinosaurs (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Dinosaurs)
    • Earth (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Earth)
    • Inventions (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Inventions)
    • Physical Science (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Physical_Science)
    • Plants (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Plants)
    • Scientists (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Scientists)
  • Social Studies (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Social_Studies)
    • Anthropology (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Anthropology)
    • Economics (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Economics)
    • Government (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Government)
    • Religion (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Religion)
    • Holidays (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Holidays)
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Solar_System)
    • Planets (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Planets)
  • Sports (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Sports)
  • Timelines (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Timelines)
  • Weather (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Weather)
  • US States (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/US_States)

Information

  • Home Page (http://academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php)
  • Contact Us (http://www.academickids.com/encyclopedia/index.php/Contactus)

  • Clip Art (http://classroomclipart.com)
Toolbox
Personal tools