More pungent and less sweet than its close cousin, marjoram, oregano is one of the few herbs that is stronger when dried than when fresh. It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity.
Oregano is native to northern Europe, although it grows throughout many regions of the world. Americans probably know oregano best as the staple herb of Italian-American cuisine, although the herb also features prominently in Mexican cooking.
Mediterranean and Mexican oregano are two different plants, but are used in much the same way, and have similar flavors.
Use oregano in recipes for artichokes, beans, chicken, eggplant, fish, lamb, mushrooms, pasta, peppers, pizza, pork, potatoes, rabbit, sausages, tomatoes, veal, and zucchini. Both Mexican and Mediterranean varieties of oregano should be added in the *beginning* of cooking, so the flavor has time to emerge and blend with the other flavors of the dish. Add oregano while browning garlic, onions or and/or beef for both spaghetti sauce and chili.