Oregano is a shrub-like herb with multiple-branched stems, growing either upright or in a creeping manner, depending on the variety. It can grow as tall as three feet in height. The leaves are narrow and pinnate, or arrow-shaped, and have a soft, fuzzy texture. They grow in pairs, well-spaced out along tender stems. As the plant grows, the more mature stems become woody at the base. In the late summer, small white flowers bloom from the flower spikes (bracts) at the top of the stems. Typically, Oregano is harvested just before the flowers bloom, when the flavor and aroma is at its peak. Oregano is said to have a ?balsamic? flavor; a combination of mint (a closely related herb), thyme, and rosemary. The taste is strong and somewhat bitter.
Oregano is a traditional Mediterranean herb and plays a prominent role in Greek and Italian cuisine. Pair fresh and dried oregano with cured olives, sheep's milk cheeses, tomatoes, lamb, potatoes, pasta and rices. It is an ideal aromatic for meat stews and can compliment olive oil sauces for grilled and baked fish. Keep cool and dry until ready to use.