Wednesday, April 3, 2013

How and When to Use Spices: Oregano

Written by Meaghan Maess, Buffalo State College student and communications intern at Catholic Health

Spices may come in small packages, but they pack a big punch in terms of flavor and health benefits. In the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a look at common spices and how you can incorporate them into your meals, starting with oregano.

What is Oregano?

Oregano is herb in the mint family with a sharp, peppery flavor.

What Oregano Can Do for You

  • Prevent the growth of bacteria, fungus and yeast that lead to infections
  • Protect your cells from damage and slow the aging process

How to Buy Oregano

When buying fresh oregano, make sure that it has no brown spots, is not limp and has a rich green color. Fresh oregano can be found in the produce section of grocery stores, or you can buy dried oregano from the spice section.

Fresh oregano should be stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. It should be used within 3 days, but can last up to a week if you store it with a slightly damp paper towel.  It can also be frozen or dried. You can dry oregano by hanging it in a cool, dark place. Dried oregano should be used within 6 months. 

Cooking with Oregano

When cooking with oregano, make sure to taste your dish as you go. If you use too much, it can become overpowering and have a bitter taste.

Oregano goes well with garlic, onion, thyme, basil and parsley.

Sprinkle Oregano On:

  • Tomato dishes (pasta, ravioli, tortellini, tomato soup)
  • Lamb
  • Pizza
  • Chili
  • Souvlaki
  • Fish
  • Pesto
  • Vegetables such as zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower and eggplant 

Recipes that Incorporate Oregano

Curly Endive Salad

Garlic Oregano Zucchini

Oregano Brussels Sprouts

Seasoned Chicken

White Bean & Spinach Pizza

Broccoli, Feta & Tomato Salad

This article was reviewed and approved by Registered Dietitian Ann Marie Smokowski, who provides nutrition counseling at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo.

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