“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others,
faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.”
I Peter 4:10
Today was the July Herb Seminar at Full Moon Natives & Herbs - All About Oregano & Marjoram - uses for culinary, tea, aroma, health and the language of herbs. Marvette Bagwell and I teamed up to share everything!
First, I shared some quick info on both the Origaniums, but here is more about them:
The Origanum genus contains over 50 species including plant heights varying from 6 inches to two feet and flower colors including white, pink and purple. Originally native to Portugal, it found its way into the cuisine of Greece, Italy and even America as well as being used in nosegays and as protectants from diseases. These plants love the sun and are fairly un-fussy plants in the garden, but also do well in winter container gardens. Marjoram may be propagated from seed, but most oreganos do not come true from seed, especially with regard to flavor, so division or propagation from cuttings is best for them. Harvest may begin when plants are 6 inches high and in fact an early harvest may produce an extra harvest later.
Oreganos are aromatic, herbaceous perennials which have the characteristic square stems of the mint family plus the typical tubular flower spiklets which attract bees and butterflies. There usage dates back to 4000BC and includes culinary, medicinal and ornamental possibilities. A good culinary oregano has a hot, peppery flavor with a hint of clove and balsam and may be used in a wide variety of dishes, breads and herb blends. The best culinary oreganos include Greek Oregano, O. vulgare hirtum; Italian Oregano, O. x majoricum; and Hot & Spicy Oregano, O. vulgare, which all have white flowers. Medicinally, oreganos have an abundance of antioxidants, plus 19 chemicals with antibacterial action and an anti-inflammatory for sore muscles and bruises. Several ornamental varieties include Dittany of Crete, O. dictamnus and Kent Beauty, O. rotundifolium, both of which have unusual pendulous clusters of flowers and bracts which resemble the strobiles of hops and are great in hanging baskets. In addition Herrenhausen & Hopley’s Blue Oregano, O. laevigatum, are long blooming flowering perennials which have attractive everlasting flowers for arrangements and potpourri.
According to the Greeks, the goddess Aphrodite was the first to tame sweet marjoram and its fragrance is said to have come from her gentle touch. Used for baths, potpourris, perfumes and massage oils, marjoram is also a popular culinary, medicinal and ornamental herb. Sweet marjoram, O. majorana, has a less distinctive flavor than oregano, and often goes unnoticed or unidentified. However, it also allows its use in a wider variety of dishes from savories to sweets, even tea. Medicinally, its ability to kill harmful bacteria and fungi make it a natural choice for flavoring and preserving sausages. One of the most popular ornamental marjorams is Golden Marjoram, O. majorana aurea, with gold splashed leaves which is good in the rock garden, containers or as a ground cover in partial shade. Bees show an intense enjoyment of marjoram’s blossoms at the end of the summer.
You can substitute marjoram for oregano and vice versa,
but not in equal quantities.
Always use the same form of the herb (fresh, dried, etc).
When using oregano in place of marjoram, use a little less oregano;
when using marjoram instead of oregano, use a little more marjoram
or add some thyme.
Marvette then demonstrated recipes using Marjoram: Cold Herb Soup & Peach Melba. She made several recipes using Oregano: Spiral Herb Bread, Greek Style Salad, Lemon Oregano Chicken, Potato with Oregano-Garlic Butter and White Bean Dip. She also made an Herbed Yogurt Dip from scratch which included both herbs. The recipes can be found on their website under Cooking with Herbs: Marjoram & Oregano. Everyone got a chance to sample the recipes and I also brought a couple treats to share:
SWEET MARJORAM BLUEBERRY TARTLETS: Combine 3Tbs lemon juice, 1Tbs sugar and 1Tbs fresh marjoram leaves in saucepan and bring to boil. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add 1c fresh blueberries and cook 5mins. then set aside to cool. Fill filo pastry cups with blueberry mixture and refrigerate. When ready to serve, sprinkle with grated lemon zest and fresh marjoram leaves.
HERBED PRETZELS: Combine 6c pretzel nubs with 1/2c melted butter, 1Tbs Garlic Herb Salt and 2Tbs Worcestershire sauce until coated. Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for 1hr stirring every 15mins. Spread on paper towels to cool and store in airtight container.
Next, with the help of several volunteers, we used marjoram & oregano to make several items:
LINEN SACHETS: Combine 1Tbs lavender, 1Tbs rosemary, 1Tbs marjoram and 1 bay leaf in a muslin bag. To use: Place bag among linens or clothes to repel moths and other insects.
2c red wine vinegar (5% acidity)
1-3” sprig of basil
2-3” sprigs of marjoram
2 cloves of garlic
Heat but DO NOT BOIL the vinegar. Place herbs, garlic and peppercorns in sterile glass bottle, add lid and store in dark location for 2-3 weeks, shaking daily. Strain vinegar in cheesecloth and/or coffee filter. Put fresh herb into sterilized bottle if desired, add vinegar and seal.
Herb vinegars give the subtle taste of herbs to your foods. Use as a salad dressing with 2 parts oil to 1 part vinegar, marinade for grilled or broiled meats, to sauté meats and vegetables or to deglaze the pan to make a sauce. You can even combine with honey or maple syrup as a glaze for vegetables.
SORE MUSCLE SOAK
1c Epson Salts
1/2c Old Fashioned Oatmeal
1/4c Calendula petals
1/4c Spearmint leaves
Combine all ingredients and store in air-tight container. To use, place 1/2 cup in a large drawstring muslin bag and tie closed. Pour 4 cups boiling water over and let steep for 10 minutes. Pour the liquid, and the bag, into a tub of hot soapy water and soak.
GARLIC HERB SALT
1 bulb garlic
1Tbs black peppercorns
24oz sea salt
Wash & dry herbs. Let rest overnight. Peel and chop garlic fine then put into a food processor. Add the herbs and the peppercorns a little at a time until they are chopped fine. Slowly add the salt. The salt will begin to dry out the herb paste. When it is mostly dry and a suitable size, spread onto waxed paper and let dry overnight. Store in airtight container.