How to Make Oregano Pesto

Here’s the story of how I made oregano pesto recently…

I made strawberry jam the other day and John said, “Did you take pictures?” Well, I hadn’t even thought of it. “That would have been a good recipe,” he said.

I started thinking about what I’ve been doing with herbs lately, and what to write to you about. I’ve made rose honey with the beautiful petals that are out now, and I’ve brought in a batch of lemon balm to dry for teas and infusions — There’s so much to do this time of year!

So, I knew I had to harvest some oregano before it flowered, and thought a recipe with oregano might be fun. My oregano is spreading this year, claiming more space in my garden. I don’t mind that at all. I use oregano a lot in my cooking.

Oregano growing in a garden.

A closeup photograph of a patch of oregano.

How to Harvest Oregano

When I harvest oregano, I just think of giving the plant a haircut. If I cut my oregano all the way to the ground like I do my lemon balm or peppermint it will not come back. So, I cut about halfway down the stem leaving lots of healthy leaves below my cuts. If you harvest extra oregano and would like to dry it, you can learn how to dry herbs here.

Of course most of us know the wonderful taste oregano can add to our meals, especially Italian dishes, but I was curious what I would find with a little more research about this commonly used herb. One thing I found was a recipe for Oregano Pesto in a book called Fresh Herbs by Barbara Radcliffe Rogers. It sounds yummy enough that I may try it with my second oregano harvest this year.

How to Make Oregano Pesto: A Simply Delicious Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups fresh oregano leaves
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup walnut meat, chopped
  • ¼ cup walnut oil (or substitute olive oil)
  • And ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated

Directions:
1. Blend all ingredients except the cheese in a blender until smooth.

2. Add parmesan cheese, and stir into hot pasta. She says, “This is a robust blend, so use it more sparingly than you would basil pesto.”

Oregano Benefits

What else did I learn? Well, that the name oregano is of Greek origin and translates roughly as “joy of the mountain,” and that the Greeks used poultices of the leaves to treat sores and aching muscles.

Also, a strong tea made with the fresh herb (1 teaspoon leaves to 1 cup boiling water steeped 10-15 minutes) has been recommended for soothing upset stomachs and headaches and also to help loosen phlegm during coughing and other respiratory ailments.

It’s great to learn a couple of new things about an herb I use regularly as I’m harvesting it.

Now, next time I have a stomachache or a cough I’ll give oregano tea a try, and maybe I’ll even make an oregano poultice for my next cut.

Happy Harvesting!

Oregano Pesto and How to Dry Herbs

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