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3 Ways With... Oregano

Native to the Mediterranean, this legendary herb was said to have first been planted by none other than the goddess of beauty and love, Aphrodite.

Rich in antioxidants, oregano has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries, and is known for its healing benefits for ailments such as indigestion, sore throats and muscle pain.

Hooksgreen Herbs stock a diverse variety of origanum vulgare, from flavourful Hot 'n' Spicy to bright and summery Golden Curly. I tried a few of these herbs and experimented with some recipes.

As the heat of the season arrives, why not try one of the following to experience the flavour of the Mediterranean? 

Digestive Overnight Infusion

When the temperature goes up, hot herbal teas become less appealing. Who wants to sit in a sun lounger with a beverage the same centigrade as the sun?

However, that doesn't mean options are limited to iced coffee, alcohol or sugary drinks. Oregano tea is widely used as a natural aid for stomach aches and cramps, but is also great for headaches, sore muscles and inflammation. 

If you're in the mood for something cold, refreshing and nutrient-rich, try brewing this herb whilst you sleep for a medicinal fix the next day.


Few sprigs Oregano
1l Spring water

You can use any variety, but I recommend Origanum vulgare 'Compactum', Origanum Onites and Polyphant.

  • Place the selected oregano in a large glass jar with a lid and bring the water to the boil.
  • Pour the hot water over the oregano and let cool to room temperature. 
  • Steep for 4 - 12 hours to let the nutrients infuse.

Steeping the tea for a large period of time allows the nutrients to infuse for longer, so more of the medicinal properties reach you. Ideally, make before bed and sip throughout the next day with ice and a slice of orange, flooding your body with antioxidants throughout the day. 

Tomato & Oregano Bruschetta

The surest sign of summer is that bold flash of red as it reaches the greengrocer's display basket. Okay, most of us shop in supermarkets. Okay, tomatoes are usually available all year round due to industrial agriculture and scary amounts of chemicals.

But anyway, this plate will not taste as good if you make it in Autumn!


3-4 large, ripe tomatoes
1 clove garlic
2-3 sprigs Oregano (works well with Origanum vulgare 'Compactum', as well as golden curly and pot marjoram)
Black pepper
Olive oil
A few thick slices of crusty bread

This works well with large tomato varieties, but focus on the quality of the tomato rather than the type. If the vine tomatoes have that fresh green scent, go for them, if you've got homegrown cherries, even better. No one wants a watery and tasteless tomato!

  • Crush or finely grate the garlic into the bowl. 
  • Sprinkle on a pinch of salt
  • Rub the oregano in your hands to release the scent. Remove the leaves from the stems, finely chop and add to the bowl
  • Add black pepper to taste, and douse generously with olive oil, extra virgin if possible
  • Stir everything together with a spoon and serve for breakfast, as a starter or as a snack atop toasted bread or sourdough.

Garlic White Beans With Hot & Spicy Oregano

Sometimes it's the simple things in life that give us the most pleasure. 

It can be tempting to use beans as the innocent victims of a well intentioned pantry clear-out. Throwing in spices, half jars of sauce, tins of tomatoes, frozen leftovers, forgotten veggies.

Although it might turn out okay, when we do this we are often overlooking the delicious simplicity of the beans themselves. By masking them with layers of explosive tastes, we lose their subtle natural flavour.

Beans, when cooked, have a naturally occuring broth that is full of nutrients and flavour. By gently enhancing this with key ingredients such as garlic and the delectably unusual hot 'n' spicy oregano, we can enjoy sensory pleasure as the products speak for themselves.


500g white beans (haricot, cannellini, etc)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2- 3 cloves garlic
The leaves from a few sprigs of Hot 'n' Spicy oregano

If using dried beans, soak the beans overnight in plenty of water. I recommend using dried beans as you get more control over the broth, but if canned is the only available option, just don't throw away the liquid.

  • Heat a large saucepan on low and add the olive oil as you finely chop the onion. 
  • Add the onion to the pan and let sweat and soften until it starts to become transparent
  • Add the garlic and stir for one minute
  • Add the beans. If using cans, add the entire contents of the can and refill the can with water, emptying that out. If using dried, add the soaked beans plus the soaking liquid along with a generous pinch of salt. Note: if using canned beans they may be pre-salted, so salt according to taste
  • Rub a small handful of the hot 'n' spicy oregano between your palms to release the scent and flavour. Chop the leaves and sprinkle into the pot
  • Make sure the beans are covered with a good amount of water and raise the heat. Bring to the boil to get the beans cooking then lower down and simmer with the lid half-on. 
  • If using canned beans, this recipe will only take around 20-30 minutes. With dried, the beans may take up to an hour, though the earthy spice of the oregano will be infused with more depth. 
  • The beans are cooked when you blow on them and the skin splits and rolls away.

Serve alone in bowls like soup, or with rice or bread for a bigger meal.

Recipes created by Elena Pollen

Elena is a creative writer who has written for Quinteassential, The Permaculture Research Institute and The Organization for World Peace, as well as maintaining her own blog about permaculture living. She believes in local and organic food practices and follows a vegetarian lifestyle.