Marjoram And Oregano

The Greeks called these fragrant leaved 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.

wild marjoram Marjoram And Oregano
wild marjoram

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

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43 thoughts on “Marjoram And Oregano

  1. I love oregano in everything Italian-inspired! However I don’t think I’ve ever cooked with marjoram. Tried growing some oregano in a pot on my patio, but it’s not doing so well.

      1. I think it’s completely dead now–but I acquired it by taking a root section from an existing plant of my mom’s–it may not have liked the shock of being broken apart/transplanted. Herbs are pretty cheap at a local garden store, so I may try again with a fresh and new plant.

  2. I often have Oregano drying, and always include it in my cooking. The Ethnic edge…I love the constant supply in our supermarkets of freshly cut herbs, and instead of putting in the fridge, often place the herb in water in a jar on my windowsill. It keeps longer and is a constant reminder to put it in the cooking pot! x

    1. what a clever idea! I don’t have a windowsill but I like to keep rosemary in my kitchen in a small jar for the aroma 🙂

  3. Tandy, we use lots of oregano, as it grows in our garden, but we’ve never grown marjoram before. I was wondering if you knew what the difference was between the oregano we grow and what the Greeks call rigani – I believe they’re very similar, but not exactly the same?

  4. Hi Tandy, i also always have to have oregano, however now i am going to try planting it–thanks for info

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