Sunday, November 29, 2009

Oregano varieties

Spanish onions, Greek 'Righani' and ripe tomatoes
Tomatoes with everything and every day is the case for me at the moment after the hot weather has ripened them all at lightening speed. Instead of the usual basil with tomatoes in a salad, a Spanish version can be made using powdered oregano. The oregano I like to buy is imported from Greece and is the dried flower stems and aromatic leaves tied in a bunch and packed in a long cellophane bag. For those interested in the botanical side of Oregano it can be a bit confusing to sort out the varieties. The main ones are : Origanum vulgare var onites from Italy which is much favoured in the making of Pizza;  Origanum vulgare var heracleoticum from Greece and called Righani for Greek salads and marinating fetta cheese and Origanum virens from Spain,called Ouregao in Portugal.  A fourth variety Origanum marjorana or Marjoram is a sweeter milder variety which can be used both fresh or dried. I like to use this one for making bread stuffing for roast chicken. For those who like Polish sausage it is one of the ingredients in the making of Kielbasa.
In Greek, Oregano means joy of the mountains derived from oros, mountain and garnos, joy or happiness. It has brought much joy to cooks for at least 2000 years.


  1. An equivalent of oregano in the Indian cuisine is the Indian borage (also called Five Seasons Herb, Mother of Herbs, or Plectranthus aromaticus)

  2. What a great post about oregano. Loved it! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Ian... the joys of having one's own garden is a blessing. Your photograph of this wonderful bounty is a beautiful still life in real time. Many thanks