Preserving The Harvest: Oregano

by Texas Homesteader 

I try to harvest and preserve all the fresh herbs I can. I finally got some oregano to grow. In addition to harvesting and using as much fresh oregano as I can, I also plan on preserving it for future use.

My dehydrating procedure is simple and requires no special equipment. Come see how easy it is to preserve oregano.

Preserving Oregano. Italian seasonings are my favorites. Because It tastes better fresh I like to grow and preserve my own. #TexasHomesteader

Yea! Oregano Is Growing

I’d tried on numerous occasions to grow oregano. But for some reason never successfully. 

So I planted another oregano plant as proof of the eternal optimist that I am. Surprisingly the oregano was flourishing!

Italian seasonings are some of my favorites. So I’m always using a mixture of italian herbs of some kind in my cooking. Because I’m so cheap thrifty.

Wherever possible I like to grow and preserve my own herbs. So now that it’s actually growing, I want to preserve this surprising oregano harvest.

Harvesting Fresh Oregano

The type of oregano I have grows primarily by stems along the ground. So I really don’t want to take too many of those runners as I’m hoping it will continue to spread.

It might be wise to take most of the cuttings today from the top with only a few from the perimeter. That should leave plenty of runners to allow the oregano to continue growing and spreading. I’d love to have oregano to harvest in subsequent years too, y’all!

Drying The Oregano

I brought the fresh oregano cuttings inside and washed them in a colander. A quick shake removed most of the water from the stems. Then I laid them on a towel to finish air drying for a few hours.

When they were dry I moved them to a large cookie sheet to finish drying. I’ll fluff the oregano several times each day until it’s completely dry.

Nothing ruins dried herbs more than a tiny amount of moisture remaining on the leaves when it’s stored. So to make absolutely sure, I’ll leave the leaves to air dry for probably about 1.5 to 2 weeks just to make sure.

No-Energy Herb-Drying Station

Or sometimes I’ll hang the stems of various herbs in my kitchen from a cotton string. That also allows airflow and the leaves dry easily with no other input from me. It’s my own energy-free Herb Drying Station!

Fresh herb drying station takes no energy to preserve herbs. #TexasHomesteader

I simply leave them hanging until they’re completely dry. I typically have a few different herbs hanging at any given time – sage, oregano, thyme and/or basil are favorites for me.

And this drying station allows me to reach up and cut off a stem of dried herb to crush and add to my recipe right then, right there!

When the herbs are completely dry I often remove the leaves from the stems and place my home-grown dried herb in an empty spice container, giggling gleefully at how I’ve managed to bypass another expensive purchase.  

Harvesting & Preserving Fresh Oregano From The Edible Landscape Garden. #TexasHomesteader

Hummm…  Now I’m eyeballing the new oregano growth and I think I may do this again very soon.

~TxH~

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17 thoughts on “Preserving The Harvest: Oregano

  1. Lee Traister

    I do the same as you described. It works great. I am still using dry oregano from last summer. I also do the same with thyme and dill and tea herbs like lemon balm and mint. You really don’t need fancy machines to dry herbs… Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. Jeannie

    This year I grew basil for the first time and have completely enjoyed it, I’ve been posting recipes for a couple of weeks in hopes I will have a nice “collection” by the end of the summer. Oregano is my next goal. for what it’s worth

    Reply
  3. Maureen

    Now that you got oregano to take, it will multiply really fast. Herbs love being cut and the more you use it the more it will grow. Parsley and oregano dry really well and I make my bail into pesto or just finely chop it, cover it in olive oil and freeze it. It works really well.

    Reply
  4. Vickie

    I love the idea of drying the herbs on the dashboard of a car! Can you imagine how good the car would smell! Haha – no need to buy those car freshener things ever again! I am also growing oregano for the first time and the plant is actually pretty – sort of like a ground cover! I didn’t know it was going to come back year after year – what a bonus! Thanks for the drying tutorial – I’m going to have to start doing this! Vickie

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Vickie – if you dry oregano in your car during the day, it’s a guaranteed certainty you’ll be in the mood for homemade pizza for supper. LOL I’m hoping to try again getting the oregano to take off in my edible landscape flower bed at our front porch for just the reason you mention – it’s a beautiful (and edible) ground cover. ~TxH~

      Reply
      1. Jeannie

        What a great idea to dry in the car! for what it’s worth

        Reply
  5. Carrie

    We dry all of our herbs. I purchased this on amazon a few years ago and we love it. I normally hang it on our frong porch, but if the weather is bad or rainy we hand in in our pantry. I see it is no longer available on Amazon but if you search for hanging dehydrators there are similar items.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001T426TE/ref=oh_details_o07_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    It works great because it will blow with the breeze, but it is screened in so the herbs do not move around much and bugs do not get in. Herbs dry pretty quickly with it, and it folds up for storage.

    Reply
  6. Stacie

    Do you think it would be okay to dry fresh herbs using a food dehydrator overnight or would they dry too quickly?

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Stacie, I dried thyme in a solar dehydrator once and it turned out fine. Maybe try it at the lowest temps for the shortest time & keep an eye on it? ~TxH~

      Reply
  7. Bruce

    Good info Tammy. I wonder if it work with Basil and Parsley?

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Bruce, when I dry basil I usually cut the stems, wash them and shake out the water then bind them with some cotton string (like a bouquet) and hang them upside down in my pantry for several days. The leaves are then easily removed and placed in jars for use in cooking. I’ve never grown parsley but I’m assuming the same method as oregano would work? Anyone else have any thoughts on parsley? ~TxH~

      Reply
      1. Sensible Gardening

        I saw an interesting idea for those of us living with hot dry summers. Place your trays of cleaned herbs inside on your parked car’s dash for a couple of days. Instant drying.

        Reply
        1. Texas Homesteader Post author

          I’ve seen that idea too and wondered if it would work. Has anyone tried it successfully? Weigh in and let us know! ~TxH~

          Reply
        2. Sarah

          We dry oregano in our dehydrator and it works great.

          Reply
  8. Candy C.

    Nice looking plant! 🙂
    I had an oregano plant in a 5-gallon bucket that came back year after year for quite some time. Maybe yours will come back next year now that it is established.

    Reply
    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Oh I hope so Candy. I tried to incorporate it into my edible landscaping for years, as it’s a beautiful lush ground cover but it would die each time I’d plant it. Fingers crossed that this one makes it. ~TxH~

      Reply

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