The Greeks called these fragrant leafed herbs “Brightness of the Mountain” and it is impossible to imagine the cuisines of the Mediterranean and Aegean without their strong, warm, aromatic taste. There are more than 30 species from the Mediterranean and Middle East and often marjoram and oregano are common names that are used interchangeably.
Origanum species are found in the wild in sunny, well drained and often stony places. They thrive in full sun and are stronger flavoured if grown with tough love. Raise the species from seed in spring. Once the plants are established do not over water them. Cut back old growth in spring.
You can harvest the foliage fresh but the flavour is enhanced if you dry it in bunches in a dark, warm, well ventilated place for several days. When dry and crisp, rub the leaves off the stems and store in an airtight container.
Oregano has a more pungent scent than marjoram, with a stronger flavour. The hotter and drier the climate, the more aroma and flavour a variety will have. Sweet marjoram is the type used in cooking, Its aroma is damaged by heat, so use it in uncooked or lightly cooked dishes, or add it at the end. Oregano is a more robust herb and can withstand longer cooking. Both herbs go well with lemon, garlic, wine, meats, fish, salads, Greek and Italian dishes, beans, eggplant, capsicum and tomato based dishes and sauces. They are also used in commercial mixed herbs.
information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs