Why use the term Origanum
instead of Oregano?
Because, the word Oregano can apply to plants not in the Origanum
genus. Think of the word Oregano as descriptive term instead of a plant.
It is a flavor, an essence, an oil. The flavor of Oregano is
found in many different genera all over the world. The chemistry of these
different 'Oreganos' is similar but not identical. It is these differences
which give them their delightful nuances. Most Oregano flavored plants
and often thymol, in addition to various other chemicals.
What about Marjoram?
At one time Sweet Marjoram and its offspring were classified as a separate
genus. Not too long ago these plants were reclassified into the genus Origanums.
This leaves us with culinary Origanums that tend toward the large
tomentose Greek Oregano and culinary Origanums that lean toward the
smoother, rounder, grayer leaved Sweet Marjoram.
While Oregano can be used fresh, it
is most often used dried. By itself it makes a great addition to anything
with tomato sauce in or on it, like pizza. With other dried herbs it has
endless possibilities. It is often added to chili powder, barbecue rubs,
Cajun seasonings, Greek spice mixtures, Herbs de Provence, and Italian