Thursday, September 30, 2010

Marjoram - More Subtle Than Oregano

Marjoram is an herb that is sometimes confused with oregano. The two herbs are both members of the mint family, but marjoram has a more subtle, sweet flavor. Marjoram is more flavorful when used dried than fresh, and should be used towards the end of preparing the dish, as too much heat will kill its flavor.

Ancient Greeks and Romans cultivated marjoram, and the herb was equated with happiness. The ancients believed that if marjoram grew over a grave that the one buried there would have a happy afterlife. Ancient Egyptians used the herb in embalming, and the herb is still associated with Egypt, for over 80 percent of all modern imported marjoram comes from there. It is an herb that is high in anti-oxidants and rich in Vitamins A and C.

It can be grown easily from seed, and should be planted in a sunny, fairly well drained area where the soil is not too rich. But marjoram tends to need more moisture than other herbs, so check it during very hot weather to make sure it is wet enough. It can also be grown as a potted plant. Springs of the herb should be harvested as the flower buds appear. Pick before it blooms for the best flavor. In milder climates it can be grown as a perennial, but in most areas it is an annual as it is very cold sensitive.

Marjoram is associated with many meat dishes around the world. It is used in Germany in the spice mixture used for sausages, as well as in France in bouquet garni and pickling solutions. Italian and Greek cuisines use the herb in meat dishes and in sauces. Marjoram also is used in body care products such as lotions, body soaps, skin cream, and even shaving gel.
My Zimbio