Last updated on August 5th, 2022 at 08:09 am
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Oregano is an herb that comes from the oregano plant which is in the mint family. While the pink and purple flowers that bloom on the oregano plant are edible it is the leaves that people refer to when they say they are using oregano in a recipe.
Oregano can be used fresh or dried and is often used in pizza. Fresh oregano has a stronger flavor than dried oregano will have. Dried oregano has a more subtle flavor and is more commonly found in kitchens and therefore in dishes.
Oregano is an herb that you can grow fresh in your own garden and even in your kitchen window if you don’t have a yard big enough for a garden. What if you grow or buy a large amount of oregano? Can you throw it in the freezer?
You can freeze oregano but you will need to wash and then dry it completely before freezing it. You will want to make sure to store it in an airtight freezer bag as well.
Frozen oregano will be good for about a year before it will begin to lose its taste and texture. Since it’s only good for a year it is a good idea to mark the freezer bag with the date that you put it into the freezer so you know when you need to use it before.
How Do You Freeze Oregano?
Fresh herbs tend to have a stronger flavor than dried herbs do which is why it is wonderful that so many fresh herbs hold up well in the freezer. There are a few different ways that you can freeze fresh oregano to preserve it for later use.
The first method for freezing oregano is to freeze the leaves individually. The first thing that you want to do when freezing any herbs is to harvest them and then rinse them clean. To rinse them all you need to do is run them under cool water, then dry them.
When drying the water off of the herbs you will want to make sure that you pat them down gently as you won’t want to crush them. If you have a salad spinner you can use that to spin the oregano dry as well.
To freeze the leaves individually you will need a cookie sheet. This is the simplest way to freeze oregano.
Remove each leaf from the stem and lay them on the cookie sheet in a single layer then place it into the freezer. Once the leaves have frozen you will be able to place them into a freezer safe Ziploc bag.
Make sure that you label the bag with the contents and the date.
When it is time for you to use your oregano, you can take out the number of leaves that you need since they were frozen separately. You can also freeze oregano in an ice cube tray in water. After your oregano has been rinsed and dried you will want to remove all the leaves from their stems. You can then chop the leaves as you would if you were going to use them or you can freeze them whole.
Fill the ice cube trays halfway with water, then place a tablespoon of oregano into each section of the ice cube tray. The oregano may float but that’s alright. Push them down into the water as much as you can then place them into the freezer and leave them overnight.
In the morning you will take the ice cube trays from the freezer and then fill each section up to the top with water. Since the oregano was already partly frozen in the trays it will not float now so they will end up being fully submerged. Once your ice cubes of oregano are frozen solid you can remove them from the ice cube tray and place them into a freezer safe container.
Be sure to label the container with the contents and the date. I would go ahead and label the amount of oregano that is in each ice cube for easy reference as well.
The great thing about freezing your oregano in ice cubes is that you can simply drop the amount of ice cubes into your soups, stews, and other dishes. The ice cubes will melt as you cook and leave the fresh herbs behind.
You can also freeze your oregano in oil instead of water. The method is nearly the same as if you were going to freeze them in water.
First, you will rinse and dry your herbs. Once the herbs have fully dried you will then remove each leaf from the stem. Go ahead and chop the oregano leaves as you would if you were going to use them right now. Be sure to go ahead and chop the oregano leaves how you would want to use them.
If you like your oregano to be a little bigger than you will want to chop them coarsely but if you like a fine chop with your oregano leaves then go ahead and do that now.
Typically, each cell of an ice cube tray will hold about a tablespoon of oil. Place the number of herbs that you want into each cell of the ice cube tray then fill the tray with olive oil. You do not need to worry about the herbs floating in oil as they do in water. Place the ice cube trays into the freezer and allow to freeze solidly.
After the olive oil and oregano have frozen completely you will then need to place the cubes into a freezer safe container. You will need to label your container with the contents, the amount each cube holds, and the date. Labeling the container is especially important if you freeze more than one type of herb in oil. You will not be able to tell the difference between the herbs once they are frozen in oil or water.
Many times, you won’t be able to tell the difference even if you freeze them as individual leaves since the leaves of herbs will change slightly in color and size once they are frozen. Oregano that has been frozen should be used within a year.
Is It Better To Dry Or Freeze Oregano?
When you have fresh oregano, you need to use it pretty quickly as it will only stay fresh for a few days. The preference to if you should dry or freeze oregano really comes down to your own choices.
Many people prefer to use dried oregano as it has a more subtle flavor than fresh oregano.
If you like a bolder oregano flavor then you will want to freeze your oregano to keep it fresh. If you would rather have a more subtle oregano flavor in your dishes then you will want to dry your oregano in order to preserve it.
When using dried oregano, you will want to make sure that you gently rub the oregano between your fingers to release the flavors before putting it into your dish. Drying your oregano is actually a pretty easy process. All you need to do is tie several twigs of oregano together and hang them in a cool, dry place that is well ventilated. This process will take anywhere between 2 and 6 weeks for your oregano to dry.
You can also use an oven to dry your oregano.
To dry oregano in the oven you will need to preheat your oven to 180 degrees Fahrenheit, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lay your sprigs of oregano in a single layer on the sheet. Place the baking sheet into the oven but leave the door slightly ajar.
This will provide circulation for the oregano. This process will take between 2 and 4 hours.
The leaves are ready once you can easily crumble them in your hands. It is best to store your dried oregano in an airtight container, glass works best but plastic is just as suitable.
The first week that you are storing your oregano after drying it, you will want to remove the lid from the container for an hour a day to allow air to circulate around the herbs. After a week you can then store the oregano as you would if you had purchased it from the store.