Oregano plants have had a special place in my heart ever since we discovered them growing in the landscaping at our last house. I was so excited to discover that they could be easily dug up and split into multiple plants that would continue to thrive and get bigger and bigger every year. You just can’t seem to kill these plants no matter what and their bright green foliage just can’t be beat.
After seeing just how strong and determined these little plants are, I really wasn’t surprised at all when I heard that a lot of traditional cultures have used oregano for its awesome healing powers for thousands of years. A plant that pretty and delicate looking, and yet so strong, is obviously pretty special! 🙂
I like to use oregano straight out of my garden during the warmer months, but I thought I’d get a little ahead of the game this year and dry some for use in the winter as well. I love to use a lot of oregano in my cooking and it seems silly to go and buy it from my store when I have these huge oregano plants growing right here that I know for sure are healthy, happy, pesticide-free plants.
If you’d like to start growing and harvesting your own oregano plants, here’s what you need to know!
Oregano is at its peak of flavor right as the flower buds are forming. We’re maybe just a little bit early in the season for that right now, but I’m getting it done now anyway, while I have the time! You know how it is. 🙂
You’ll also want to choose a warm morning to harvest your oregano because that’s when the essential oils in the plant are the most concentrated.
Choose a stem that you want to snip, and use your scissors or garden clippers to snip it quite far down, right above a “node”, which is where you’ll find two leaves growing out from the stem, or where you find another stem growing out.
When you think you’ve harvested enough, clean the stems gently but thoroughly and dry them well.
Bundle the stems together and hang them to dry somewhere dark and dry. You can punch a few holes in a paper bag and tie it up around the stems to catch any leaves that fall off as they dry. I honestly just hang them from a cabinet door knob in my kitchen in a spot that doesn’t get direct sunlight, and that usually seems to work just fine!
Once the oregano is dry, just use your hand to crumble the crispy leaves off of the stem. The stem itself is pretty bitter, but word on the street is that you can use the dried stems in a smoker to impart a nice flavor to whatever you’re cooking. 🙂
Store your freshly dried herbs just as you would any other herbs from the store. Place them in an airtight container such as a little mason jar and keep them out of direct sunlight and away from too much heat. The herbs will give you the best flavor if you use them up within six months or so, but they should still be much better than regular store bought herbs even if you use them right up until fresh herbs are available in your garden again next year. 🙂
Do you grow herbs in your garden? Have you ever tried drying them so you can use them all year long?
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