Marjoram - Origanum majorana

Marjoram - Origanum majorana

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Marjoram is a species of oregano, the Latin name that designates it is in fact origanum majorana; like oregano it has small green, oval or roundish leaves, covered with a light, very aromatic down if crumpled; the small flowers are pink in color, and, as with oregano, marjoram also tends to produce small roundish shrubs, which lose their foliage during the winter, to begin to sprout again in spring, so as to give us new ones every year keep leaves. Its origins are in Africa and Asia, where it is widely used, together with its oregano cousin, despite having a more delicate aroma. It is now present, naturalized also in Europe, and in particular on the Mediterranean coasts.
Marjoram is often used fresh, taking the youngest branches with the help of a pair of scissors; however, the leaves can also be frozen, retaining all their delicate aroma. Marjoram is also dried: in this way the scent of the foliage changes slightly, while remaining very aromatic.


The cultivation of marjoram is simple, already in February we can sow it in a greenhouse or hot box, thinning out the young seedlings and replacing the plants outdoors when the weather begins to heat up, in April or May. At the beginning of spring they can easily find large seedlings in the nursery; if we wish we can also sow directly in the spring. The plants are placed in a very sunny place, and water for the first months of life. They will soon develop small shrubs, which over the years will also tend to lignify the base; these shrubs generally do not require great care or watering, and, as with other aromatic herbs, such as sage or rosemary, they tend to be satisfied with the rain water. At the end of winter it is advisable to prune the shrubs at 10-15 cm from the ground, so as to obtain a compact carpet of young fragrant buds. If you want to get more leaves it is good to prune the shrub even after flowering, to keep it compact.
In areas where the winter is decidedly very rigid, we cultivate marjoram as an annual, or potiamola in autumn, up to the ground, and mulch the area above the roots, so as to protect them from intense cold, and allow the plant to re-shoot in spring. It can also be grown in pots.

Marjoram - Origanum majorana: Use in the kitchen

Marjoram is mainly used fresh, to flavor sauces and salads; dried instead it is used instead of oregano, or together with it, to cook grilled meats, vegetables, sauces containing tomatoes. As with other herbs, marjoram also enters that fundamental compound of dried herbs called "Provencal herbs".
When we take the leaves for drying, we can also take the flowers, which are very decorative on the serving plate.