Organic Emily

Growing and Using Herbs: Oregano

Fresh Greek Oregano

Oregano can be grown in any flower bed or vegetable garden!  It’s beautiful green leaves have a spicy fragrance and adds depth and savor to any dish!  I like Greek Oregano, it tends to have a little more heat and flavor than other varieties.  This week I harvested an entire plant before it flowered.  It will come back with a vengeance and I’ll be able to harvest again or let it flower so the bees can benefit from the plant too!  Oregano has many health benefits and is used for many purposes.  It’s  full of vitamin K, antioxidants and minerals.  It is also a natural antibiotic!

Oregano 2

With all the oregano I harvested I decided to dry it all!  There are a few ways to dry herbs.  They can be strung up and hung upside down to dry by air.  They can be dried outside on a screen under a shady tree.  Or they can be dried in a dehydrator.  First pulling off the leaves from the stems and then placing them on a dehydrator tray.  As you can see I dried them in the dehydrator.  I first pulled all the leaves from the stems and then placed them on a tray to be dried.  I had enough to fill 8 large trays.   I set my dehydrator on the lowest setting (about 95`) and dried the oregano for 24 hours.

Dried Oregano

My oregano is stored in a half gallon glass jar, kept in a cool, dark room to maintain it’s potency.  We won’t use all this especially if I harvest again this year or even next year.  So I plan to divide the oregano out and put into smaller 4 oz. jars, add cute labels and give them as homemade Christmas gifts!   There are so many things we can do with herbs!  Here are a few recipes we enjoy at our house!

Fresh Herb Spaghetti

Fresh Herb Spaghetti

Olive oil for cooking

1 pound ground organic turkey

1 large yellow onion

3-4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 pound chopped baby mushrooms

Kosher salt and pepper

1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning

2 bottles or cans (28 oz. each) crushed tomatoes

1 package cooked whole wheat pasta spaghetti noodles

1/2 cup mixed fresh chopped herbs, like rosemary, oregano, thyme and basil

Fresh Cut Herbs

Heat oil in a large dutch oven and add ground turkey.  Add the onions and cook until lightly browned.  Add the garlic, mushrooms, kosher salt and pepper and Italian seasoning and continue to cook for a few minutes longer.  Add the crushed tomatoes and allow to simmer on medium low for 20 minutes.  In the meantime cook the noodles according to the directions on the package.  Strain the noodles and add to the pot of sauce.  Add the fresh herbs at the end and cook for just another minute or two.  Serve with fresh Parmesan or shredded mozzarella!

 

White Bean Panzanella

White Bean Panzanella

This savory salad is one of my favorites!  Made with homemade sourdough croutons, white beans and fresh herbs, it is a meal all by itself!  Perfect for a spring or summer time gathering!

1 loaf of sourdough bread, cut into bite size cubes

olive oil

kosher salt and pepper

Place the cubed bread on a rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt and pepper over the bread.  Toss gently with hands.  Bake at 350` for about 20 minutes until golden.  Allow to cool.

In a large bowl place:

6-8 ounces of organic spring mix

1 1/2 pounds chopped tomatoes

1 can white beans, drained and rinsed

1 small red onion, halved and sliced very thin

3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil

2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano

1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Top with cooked croutons and dress with an Italian or balsamic vinaigrette just before serving.

 

 

 

 

Emily Saddler

Emily is a Master Gardener, wife of a professional landscape contractor, Mom of 4 cute kids, Yoga instructor and very passionate advocate of organic home-grown food! Emily maintains a blog called “The Organic Suburban Farm Girl” where she shares gardening advice, delicious recipes made with fresh, organic ingredients and her escapades as the keeper of both backyard chickens and honeybees!

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