Hardy perennial that has sprawling stems and can grow to 24 inches tall. Flowers July through September with tiny purple to white blooms. Grows well in poor soil and can be used as a groundcover. Harvest tender sprigs to flavor sauces, meats, vegetables, and salads. Companion to beans.
The best taste for oregano leaves is right before the plant flowers. Whe you see buds developing, start your harvesting. If allowed to flower, the herb can taste bitter. You can pick for fresh use anytime after the plant reaches 8" in height and continual picking will prevent rapid flowering, but most prefer to use oregano in a dried form. Drying mellows and deepens the flavor and reduces the bitterness. Dry on screens in a warm, dry place. Test for dryness by crushing a leaf between your thumb and finger. It should have a crispy, crackly sound and feel. Remove the leaves from the stems and store in glass jars. Crush the leaves before adding it to recipes.
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