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Friday, June 24, 2011

Make Your Dish Into a Masterpiece with Oregano

Guest Blogger: Karissa Martin
copyright 2011 art of living, PrimaMedia,Inc

Oregano is a staple herb that is used in many recipes, especially when it comes to Italian and Greek cooking. It can be used fresh or dried, and it can be used in pasta, meat dishes, sauces, salad dressings, and even salads. It is an excellent, flavorful addition to a meal, and it is a great herb to keep on hand in your garden or kitchen. Easy to grow and delicious with a fresh scent, oregano is a perfect addition to any herb garden, indoors or out.

First step: go get some seeds or a seedling from your local plant nursery or garden center, or even search online. There are different types of oregano to choose from, Greek and Italian oregano being the most common. Once you’ve obtained the plant or seeds, choose your planting spot. Choose a place with plenty of sunlight and good water drainage. Oregano likes sandy soil, so, for best results, mix a little sand in your soil. Dig a small hole and insert your plant, or, if you are using seeds, place the seeds on top of the soil and do not cover them with soil. Water the soil until it is just damp―do not overwater.

Oregano does not need much water―only water your plant when the soil surrounding the plant begins to look dry. When the plant is about four inches tall, you can begin cutting it back and using the leaves for cooking. Cut it back periodically to keep the plant more compact and to encourage growth. When the flower buds begin to show, pull them off to keep your oregano’s flavor strong. Watch out for spider mites and aphids―they like oregano and will destroy your plant if they are left to feed. Try to use more organic methods of insect repellant because, remember, you will be eating this plant.

With its antioxidants and health benefits and ability to make any dish into a masterpiece, oregano is the perfect herb for any kitchen or herb garden. Dry it, freeze it, or use it fresh to add a touch of taste to your meal anytime.

For recipes using oregano get your copy of the Gourmand World Cookbook Award Winning Cookbook The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: Holidays & Special Occasions-2nd edition

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