A patch of oregano growing in Better Farm's herb beds.
Oregano, or “mountain joy”, is native to northern Europe and grows as an annual plant in North America. I automatically think of pizza whenever anyone mentions the herb, but it can add a warm, aromatic flavor to many different dishes, including sautéed mushrooms and onions, omelets and frittatas, and homemade garlic bread. Oregano is not only a great source of vitamin K, manganese, iron, dietary fiber, and calcium, but also has anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties.

Mollica and I gathered some oregano from the herb garden (and fended off an army of mosquitoes in the process). We cut oregano stalks that were on the edge of flowering, because the flowers give the herb a bitter taste. After bringing them into the kitchen, we hung them in small clusters from the ceiling. When they’re all dried, we can start using the herb to enhance our dishes!  

A tip for cooking: Oregano, in either its dried or fresh form, should be added toward the end of the cooking process, because heat can diminish its flavor.