ingredient: mexican oregano

by sj

also: puerto rican oregano, origanum cimmaron, lippia oregano

Shelf life: 6-12 months when kept dry and sealed in a cool, dark place.

flavour profile:herbaceous, citrus, woodsy, with hints of camphor and mint, sweet spice, and peppery notes

pairs well with: almost universally adaptable, it pairs especially well with beans, dairy, and tomatoes

cuisines: all. Traditionally used is central american and southwestern US cuisines

special notes: often labeled as simply “oregano” in mexican/latin american markets, it is easy to distinguish from true oregano by inspecting the edges of the leaves, oregano has smooth edged leaves whereas Lippia graveolens has serrated/scalloped edges (see the photos)

A plant native to the new world, from the southwestern united states through central america down to about nicaragua, the leaves of the Lippia graveolens plant have a few similarities to the mediterranean herb from which it gets its popular name. It has an earthy, herbaceous character with peppery notes, hints of camphor and mint, but aside from its similar usage, the similarities end there. As part of the Verbena family, it is more closely related to the popular lemon verbena (Aloysia/Lippia citriodora) than oregano (part of the mint family). It has a similar citrus character to lemon verbena, somewhere between lime and lemon hat is sometimes quite pungent, and a sweet spice quality reminiscent of licorice or anise.

This herb really deserves greater attention outside of latin american foods, and i feel like the name is completely inappropriate for an herb with such standout singular qualities, it deserves better than to be labelled as some alternate version of another herb (even one as ubiquitous and revered as oregano.) Try adding it to curries and asian dishes to add an interesting citrus herbal flavour, or in mediterranean dishes to pop some of those already existing flavour components to a new level, and if you’re feeling super adventurous, try adding some to citrusy desserts to help bring a crazy yum herbal note to the dish. Don’t be afraid of this one, it’s insanely versatile, seemingly universally loved, and should be in more widespread use.

You can find this at any store that has a selection of mexican/latin american/central american goods, often labeled simply as “oregano”, again, check the leaves for the jagged edges.

...and now for something similar:

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