Oregano is a bushy and woody branched herb. This herb belongs to the mint family. It is used widely in cooking to add flavor to foods. This herb is famous for its aromatic and robust flavor. It is used frequently in American and Italian cooking.
It can be used in most food items such as pizza, salad, in meat items and even in sauces. Its use in food gives delicious results. According to a survey in America, every year, Americans use more than 14 million pounds of this tasty herb in cooking items.
Oregano mostly planted in the Middle East and the Mediterranean region. When the oregano grows, it is 2 feet wide and 1 to 2 feet tall mostly. The leaves of oregano are an oval shape; these are also fragrant and edible leaves.
Oregano blooms in the form of pink flowers in the late summer. It is also white from spikes. The flavor of its flowers is a bit different from the leaves. It becomes a beautiful addition to summer salads.
Table of Contents
- 1 Mexican Oregano
- 1.1 CULTIVATION AND HISTORY
- 1.2 PRODUCTS NEEDED
- 1.3 PROPAGATION
- 1.4 FROM SEED
- 1.5 FROM CUTTINGS
- 1.6 ROOT DIVISION
- 1.7 HOW TO GROW AND BEST USES
- 1.8 GROWING TIPS
- 1.9 MANAGING PESTS AND DISEASE
- 1.10 INSECTS
- 1.11 APHIDS (APHIDOIDEA)
- 1.12 LEAFMINERS (LIRIOMYZA SPP.)
- 1.13 SPIDER MITES (TETRANYCHIDAE)
- 1.14 HARVESTING
- 1.15 PRESERVING
- 2 Use of Mexican Oregano into the Recipes and Cooking
Mexican oregano is a tasty and delicious herb also a type of oregano, but it is different from oregano. This is widely used in Mexican cuisine. It has more flavor than a European cousin. The Mexican oregano comes from native Mexico, the southwest United States.
It grows in dry areas. It is a flowered plant that has an earthy flavor with citrus undertones. It grows annually and can be harvested easily and then stored for the whole year. Mexican oregano and lemon verbena belong to the same family.
Therefore, they have many similarities. Mexican oregano has a special place in Mexican cooking. It is used in different unique dishes like black beans and many other meat dishes.
Mexican oregano can be planted in outdoor areas after the winter season. This is the kind of herb that grows well in the sunny season. You can grow this herb in your home easily.
There are 3 different ways of growing this plant:
- Crown Dividing
The Mexican oregano plant needs a wide and lighted area for growth as they tend to spread. This plant may be grown outdoor or indoor. You can use these plants in your daily cooking. These plants only need proper water and sunlight for growth.
Mexican Oregano is not truly like other oregano. It is not from the same species, and it is closely related to the Lemon Verbena. Mexican Oregano has more of a citrus flavor while European oregano has a slightly bitter earthy mint flavor..
This plant can survive in hot and dry areas. It only grows like a perennial in Mexico and other hot areas like the American Southwest and some areas of southern regions. It can be grown well in a reasonably long hot summer on an annual basis. It can also be planted indoors.
For indoor growth, the suitable temperature for this plant indoors is 50 F and ample sunlight. You can be keep this plant near a windowsill. When the Mexican oregano grows properly, it turns bushy.
For the proper growth of Mexican oregano, you need well-drained soil, proper sunlight for 6 to 8 hours in a day, and adequate moisture. However, do not overwater this plant. Put this plant under the sun in spring to get it to become bushy.
When the plant grows in a proper manner, you can harvest the leaves of the plant at any time. Just remember to leave some leaves on the plants for further growth. This is an ancient herb, which gives excellent boost of flavor to your food. .
The taste of Mexican oregano is a bit sweet, slightly citrusy and more robust than other oregano. Belize and Mexico are famous for the using Mexican oregano in their herbal tea.
CULTIVATION AND HISTORY
Greece is the birthplace of oregano. In traditional Greece, these herbs are known as the “Joy of the mountain” and said that these herbs are gifts from the goddess Aphrodite.
The people of the birth city of the oregano also believed that it is a sign of good health and good luck. In that ancient culture, this herb is a symbol of joy and happiness and planted in homes to avoid evil spirits.
The Romans who conquered this city also appreciated this holy herb and took it with them. After that, they spread this herb in different countries.
Initially, this herb is not much famous in the United States until its soldiers come back from World War II and bring this herb with them. After that, this herb got a special place into their cooking, and they also use this herb in the pizza sauce.
The soil that I use for all my herb gardening, is the FoxFarm soil. I find them to be one of the best and I have had nothing but good success using this brand. It is very affordable and provides your plants with the nutrients they need.
For people with minimal space in their home or apartment I would recommend the Saratoga Home Herb Pots with Tray Set.
For apartments with very little sunlight I would recommend the Mindful Design LED Indoor Herb Garden.
I currently use LA JOLIE MUSE Flower Pot Garden Planters for my herbs. These pots are very nice quality, and can be used for indoor and durable enough for outdoor use.
It is easy to grow Mexican oregano. There are many simple options to grow Mexican oregano. You can plant it by using seeds, cutting, and division of an existing plant. You can buy the seed of Mexican oregano seeds from almost any nursery.
If you want to grow Mexican oregano, first buy seeds. These seeds need moist soil because these seeds do not grow in dry soil. Put these seeds on the top of the soil, don’t bury them into the soil. Because these seeds need light for the germination, this usually take about 4 to 5 days.
You can put these plants outdoors under a temperature of 70°F. If you want to plant these seeds in a large wide container, do not overcrowd the container. When you sow the seeds, sow them in a row, and keep a distance of 10 to 12 inches between each seed.
You can also plant it indoors. There is no specific season for the growth of Mexican oregano. You can start a plantation of Mexican oregano at any time of the year. For the indoor plantation, you should choose a sunny place near a windowsill. After some time, you can also transplant this outdoor plant into the garden.
You can also plant the Mexican oregano from the cutting of existing branches of Mexican oregano. Take a sharp knife, cut a 4 to 5-inch branch from the plant. Remove about two inches of leaves from the bottom.
Put this branch into a tall cup or a tall jar of water for moisturizing and make sure to change the water every two days. This branch will be rooted in 4 to 5 weeks, Once the roots become approximately one inch long, you can then plant this branch into the soil.
If you want to put this branch into the soil, make sure that the soil is moist. Do not plant this branch into an area with alot of direct sun; however, do put it in a well lighted area.
The Mexican oregano plants are easy to divide, and can grow frequently. The best time of the propagation of plants is in late summer or the beginning of fall when the ground is warm.
We can also use the root division for the plantation of Mexican oregano. First, you just dig the root of a present plant, cut it into the two or three sections, and plant these divided sections into your garden or into pots.
HOW TO GROW AND BEST USES
Mexican oregano grows well in sunlight. This plant grows in soil with a level of around pH 4.5 to pH 8 . For Mexican oregano I would recommend sandy loam soil, because it allows for good drainage and also helps prevent root rot.
It can survive easily in dry and hot weather conditions, and oregano is rich in saving water for a week. Do not overwater it until the soil becomes completely dry. Therefore, it can grow well in large containers because the soil becomes dry quickly in it.
- Put the plant under the sunlight.
- It grows well in less amount of water, do not overwater it.
- When the plant grows well, trim it on time.
- Mix some compost into the soil before you plant the Mexican oregano.
- When this plant grows, it takes more space, so, at the time of plantation, take care of specific space between the seeds.
MANAGING PESTS AND DISEASE
Like the other plants, oregano also suffers from some pests and diseases. While these are not severe diseases; however, it affects the growth and leaves of the plants.
Insects are the primary pests that may harm your Mexican oregano plants.
These are the small pear-shaped pests that suck the plants and make their leaves yellow. They kill your plants and suck their energy, the leaves of plants mottled into the brown and wilting foliage.
It affects the growth of plants and slowly kills the whole plant. To save your plants from these pests, you can use blasts of water and also can use insecticidal soap.
There is another option to save your plants from these pests that introduced the other insects to the plants that are useful for the plants. For example, ladybugs that eat harmful insects.
LEAFMINERS (LIRIOMYZA SPP.)
These are the small ⅛ inch large dark gray and yellow flies. These flies stayed on the leaves and left the narrow white trails on them.
Their larvae get their feed from the leaves of plants and suck the life of plants. Use oil of neem for spray on plants to get rid of these pests.
SPIDER MITES (TETRANYCHIDAE)
These are the too small insects you can barely see from the naked eye. If you noticed some white specks on your plants, this means these pests are harming them.
They damage the plants by sucking their energy; therefore, the plant’s leaves turn yellow and fall off the plant. To save your plants from them, use a spray of neam oil.
When the plants are grown and branches of plants are filled with leaves, this takes almost 45 days. It is time to harvest these leaves.
You can snip these leaves or also can snip the branches. You can also cut the filled branches; however, when you cut these branches, leave at least one branch on the stem of the plant for further growth.
When the Mexican oregano grows and harvests it leaves, then you can store it for a long time. There are several options for preserving Mexican oregano.
You can use a dehydrator method for preservation. Firstly, snip all leaves from the branches and then clean them. Then put all leaves in a cool shaded place and cover them with a perforated paper bag that saves the leaves from dust.
Now store these dried leaves in a glass container in a cool place. Through this method, you can retain their flavors for the next six months.
You can also make the oregano infused oil. This oil can add a Mexican flavor to the cooking and you can also use this oil to add flavor in salads and drizzle on bread.
Use of Mexican Oregano into the Recipes and Cooking
The taste of Mexican oregano is a bit sweeter and slightly citrusy, which is similar to the taste of fresh tomato and garlic. These two things are the most required in Italian cooking.
In other words, the quality of cooked food depends on these two things. Therefore, oregano has a special place and taste into the Italian cooking. In Greece, Mexican oregano is used in chicken gyros with the delicious salad of feta and tomato.