This winter I went through my spice rack (which was given as a wedding gift 11 years ago) and threw out any spices I have yet to open and took inventory of spices I have at least used half of the container. These herbs were added to my growing list which one of which was oregano.
Here is the basic steps to harvest, dry, and store your own oregano:
- 1. Pick and clean (optional) the leaves
- Start by trimming as much as you may need for the next month. If the leaves are dirty give them a quick rinse and pat them dry with a paper towel. If the leaves are clean you can skip this step.
- 2. Strip the leaves from the stem
- You can try to save some time and plan on doing this after you dry but the stems will be come very brittle and will lead to a lot of tiny stem picking later. The easiest way to do this is to run your finger down the plant from the end of the stem toward the beginning that should get the leaves off pretty easily and quickly.
- 3. Dry the leaves
- If you have a food dehydrator place the leaves in a single layer and set to 90-100 degree F for about 24 hours. Alternately you can also dry the leaves by placing them in a screen in a dry warm place. You will know they are down when the leaves are crispy and can be pulverized easily with your fingers.
- 4. Storing the leaves
- Now you have two choices:
- 1. Keep the leaves whole and chop them as you need them for added flavor
- 2. Chop them up using a spice/coffee grinder and use them immediately as needed
As you can see the freshly dried oregano (left) looks much better than the stuff hanging around in my spice rack. Can’t tell from the picture but also smells much better too.