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Friday, July 10, 2009

Kotka redoubt - oregano

Oregano is an important culinary herb. It is particularly widely used in Greek, Spanish and in Italian cuisine. It is the leaves that are used in cooking, and the dried herb is often more flavourful than the fresh.
Oregano is often used in tomato sauces, fried vegetables, and grilled meat. Together with basil, it contributes much to the distinctive character of many Italian dishes.
It is commonly used by local chefs in southern Philippines when boiling carabao or cow meat to eliminate the odor of the meat, and to add a nice, spicy flavor.
Oregano combines nicely with pickled olives, capers, and lovage leaves. Unlike most Italian herbs,[citation needed] oregano works with hot and spicy food, which is popular in southern Italy.
Oregano is an indispensable ingredient in Greek cuisine. Oregano adds flavor to Greek salad and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies many fish or meat barbecues and some casseroles.

It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste. It varies in intensity; good quality oregano is so strong that it almost numbs the tongue, but the cultivars adapted to colder climates have often unsatisfactory flavor. The influence of climate, season and soil on the composition of the essential oil is greater than the difference between the various species.

The related species Origanum onites (Greece, Asia Minor) and O. heracleoticum (Italy, Balkan peninsula, West Asia) have similar flavors. A closely related plant is marjoram from Asia Minor, which, however, differs significantly in taste, because phenolic compounds are missing in its essential oil. Some breeds show a flavor intermediate between oregano and marjoram.

Pizza
The dish most commonly associated with oregano is pizza. Its variations have probably been eaten in Southern Italy for centuries. Oregano became popular in the US when returning WWII soldiers brought back with them a taste for the “pizza herb”.

Health benefits
Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. Additionally, oregano has demonstrated antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes. Both of these characteristics may be useful in both health and food preservation. In the Philippines, oregano (Coleus aromaticus) is not commonly used for cooking but is rather considered as a primarily medicinal plant, useful for relieving children's coughs.

Main constituents include carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene. The leaves and flowering stems are strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and mildly tonic. Aqueous extracts, capsules, or oil extracts of oregano are taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, fungal infections, indigestion, stomach upsets, enteric parasites, and painful menstruation. It is strongly sedative and should not be taken in large doses, though mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep. Used topically, oregano is one of the best antiseptics because of its high thymol content.

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used oregano as an antiseptic as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments. A Cretan oregano (O. dictamnus) is still used today in Greece to soothe a sore throat.

Oregano has recently been found to have extremely effective properties against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), showing a higher effectiveness than 18 currently used drugs.
Via wiki.


Käyttö ravintona
Mäkimeirami sopii hyvinkin monenlaisten ruokien mausteeksi. Tuoreena se kannattaa lisätä ruokiin vasta valmistuksen loppuvaiheessa voimakkaan makunsa vuoksi; kuivattuna maku mietonee ja makeutuu. Yleensä mäkimeiramia on käytetty pizzoihin sekä pasta- ja tomaattiruokiin, mutta se sopii myös erilaisiin liha-, kala- ja kanaruokiin ja niiden kastikkeisiin, salaatteihin, papu-, juusto- ja munakoisoruokiin. Suomen lounaissaaristossa kalastajat ovat käyttäneet mäkimeiramia perinteisesti kalaruokien ja varsinkin silakkaruokien mausteena. Kukilla ja versoilla voi maustaa viinietikkaa, ja kaljankin maustamiseen sitä on käytetty. Omasta puutarhasta mäkimeiramin lehtiä, versonlatvoja ja kukkanuppuja voidaan nyppiä pitkin kesää mausteeksi.

Käyttö rohtona
Rohtona käytetään mäkimeiramin kukkivia versonlatvoja. Kasvin haihtuva öljy sisältää pääasiassa tymolia ja karvakrolia, joilla on bakteereja ja sieniä tuhoava vaikutus. Mäkimeirami kiihottaa ruokahalua, laukaisee ruuansulatuselinten kouristuksia ja edistää liman irtoamista hengitysteistä. Kasvia käytetään ruuansulatus- ja hengityselinten vaivoihin, kuten yskään, kurkunpään tulehduksiin ja ilmavaivoihin. Ulkoisesti kasvi sopii mm. haavojen, rohtumien ja hyönteisten pistojen hoitoon. Suuvetenä sitä käytetään suun ja nielun tulehduksiin. Mäkimeirami on vanha apteekkirohdos, joka tunnettiin nimellä Herba origani.

Muu käyttö
Mäkimeiramia käytetään kosmetiikkateollisuuden raaka-aineena. Se on rasvaisen ja väsyneen ihon yrtti, jota voi käyttää höyrytyksissä, kasvovesissä, naamioissa ja kylvyissä. Värikasvina siitä saadaan punaista väriä. Puutarhasta sillä on karkotettu muurahaisia ja jopa käärmeitäkin.
Via yrttitarha.com.

1 kommenttia:

Edil May 3, 2011 at 6:16 PM  

Great article! Oregano is so useful not only for recipes but also for medicinal purposes. Oil of oregano is used in treating various diseases.