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In Mexican oregano (Lippia graveolens) an essential oil of very similar constitution is found. A typical analysis is as follows: 50% thymol, 12% carvacrol, 9% p-cymene and a number of further monoterpenoids (1,8 cineol, gamma-terpinene, terpinene-4-ol and terpinene-4-yl acetate) in amounts between 1 and 5%.
Flowering Oregano. This Italian cultivar has an exceptionally intensive flavor.
Mexican Oregano stems from the plant Lippia graveolens (Verbenaceae) and is closely related to lemon verbena. Although only loosely related to oregano, Mexican oregano displays a flavor very similar to that of oregano, albeit stronger. It is increasingly traded, especially in the US. Its strong aroma makes it an acceptable substitute for epazote leaves if the latter are not available; this wouldn't work the other way round, though.
[oh-REHG-uh-noh] Greek for "joy of the mountain," oregano was almost unheard of in the United States until soldiers came back from Italian World War II assignments raving about it. This herb, sometimes called wild marjoram , belongs to the mint family and is related to both marjoram and Thyme.
Oregano is similar to marjoram but is not as sweet and has a stronger, more pungent flavor and aroma. Because of its pungency, it requires a bit more caution in its use. Mediterranean oregano is milder than the Mexican variety, which is generally used in highly spiced dishes.
Fresh Mediterranean or European oregano is sometimes available in gourmet produce sections of supermarkets and in Italian or Greek markets. Choose bright-green, fresh-looking bunches with no sign of wilting or yellowing. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.
Dried Mediterranean oregano is readily available in any supermarket in both crumbled and powdered forms. The stronger-flavored Mexican oregano can generally be found in its dried form in Latin markets. As with all dried herbs, oregano should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. Oregano goes extremely well with tomato-based dishes and is a familiar pizza herb.
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Copyright Barron's Educational Services, Inc. 1995 based on THE FOOD LOVER'S COMPANION, 2nd edition,
Sharon Tyler Herbst.
Properties of Oregano Favored by Aztec's
Aztec's Method of Use
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