2011 29¢ Oregano
Issue Date: April 7, 2011
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Avery Dennison
Printing Method: Photogravure
Sprigs of an herb called “Joy of the Mountains” were woven into laurel wreaths and placed on the heads of wedding couples in ancient Greece. The herb was thought to banish sadness and represent the joys of the union. Aphrodite, goddess of love, favored oregano, and is said to have invented the herb as a gift to humans. The Greek physician Hippocrates used oregano to treat stomach and breathing difficulties. But oregano’s most popular use was for cooking.
Oregano is a mild spice. It is also called “wild marjoram” – related to another common spice called sweet marjoram. Oregano is perhaps most famously used as an ingredient in various Italian dishes, including pizza. Oregano blends well with the hotter spices commonly found in Italy. It also goes particularly well with tomatoes and meat. Oregano can be used either fresh or dried, and is best added late in the cooking process so its natural oils do not evaporate.
Commonly grown across the Mediterranean region, oregano was introduced to America by Spanish explorers. Much later, its popularity as a kitchen herb was heightened by American soldiers returning from Italy after World War II, bringing a new taste sensation with them.