1. What is Marjoram?
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) is a sweet, aromatic herb of the mint family that is primarily used in cooking. It has also been widely referred to as oregano or wild oregano for its close similarity to the herb. Although they look similar, marjoram and oregano are two different herbs. Marjoram also has a lighter, sweeter, more floral flavor. As a culinary ingredient, marjoram is commonly available fresh, dried, or as a powder and is added to soups, salads, sauces, and meat dishes for additional flavor.
Marjoram was originally native to Egypt and Arabia but has since been cultivated in the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Western Asia.
3. Flavor Profile
Marjoram and oregano are cousins, belonging to the same family of herbs. As such, it boasts a flavor similar to that of oregano, with a more delicate aroma and flavor. Specifically, its flavor has been described as having more complicated undertones but is generally sweeter than its cousin. It also lacks oregano’s spicy undertones.
4. Cooking with Marjoram
Because marjoram’s flavor is mild, it is typically added to light dishes that don’t call for flavors. Fresh marjoram can be used as an aromatic sachet for braises and stews. Simply wrap fresh marjoram leaves together with other herbs in a cheesecloth. Add dried marjoram to salad dressings and various meat dishes for a subtle flavor.
In European cooking, it is added to sauces that are butter-based, tomato-based, or mushroom-based, clam chowder, vinegar, salads, and eggplant. It is also typically added to various types of sausages together with thyme in Germany. It is also a very popular addition in Greek dishes where it is added to grilled lamb and other meats in addition to some onions, garlic, and wine. In Italy, it is widely-used in tomato-based sauces, pizzas, fish dishes, and a variety of vegetable dishes.
Marjoram is full of nutrients. It is a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals when used regularly. In fact, just two tablespoons of marjoram can give you Vitamin A (6% RDA), Calcium (8% RDA), Vitamin C (3.5% RDA), and Iron (18% RDA).
6. Health Benefits
You can derive plenty of health benefits from marjoram. In fact, ancient Greeks liked to use marjoram to treat cases of edema, convulsions, poisons, headaches, colds, and stuffiness. Here are some more health benefits you can gain from consuming marjoram:
Promotes healthy digestion. Drinking marjoram as a tea can help your digestive system perform at a higher level. Just drinking 2 to 4 cups of marjoram tea can improve your stomach’s digestive efficiency, calm the stomach and relieve nausea, eliminate flatulence, soothe cramps and spasms, as well as improve your appetite. Not only that, but it can also provide relief from diarrhea and constipation and help prevent infections in the intestine.
It improves cardiovascular health. Some components contained in marjoram can dilate blood vessels and improve circulation around the body, eliminating some symptoms associated with cardiovascular disease. By regularly drinking marjoram tea, you can lower your blood pressure and help reduce your risk of hypertension, which might develop into heart disease. It also helps reduce low-density cholesterol buildup in the body, which greatly reduces your risk of hardened arteries and getting a stroke.
It has anti-inflammatory properties. Marjoram has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve some of the symptoms caused by inflammation in various parts of the body. These include:
- Muscle spasms
- Sinus headaches
- Body aches
Known to relieve pain. Marjoram can also be used as a topical application to relieve pain in the localized area where it is applied. Marjoram essential oils can help relieve joint pain, sore muscles, muscle aches, and toothaches.
It can relieve stress. Marjoram contains calming and relaxing properties that can help relieve stress, treat insomnia, calm anxiety, and regulate emotional reactions when taken in small doses. In higher doses, it has been shown to exhibit some mild antidepressant properties that help elevate mood.
7. Proper Care and Storage
You can find fresh marjoram in some stores, although it’s rare to find. But oddly enough, marjoram has been regarded as one of the rare herbs that taste better dried than fresh. In fact, many cooks prefer cooking with dried marjoram.
After your marjoram purchase, make sure you store it in a cool, dry place free from light in an airtight container. Proper storage of your herbs can make them last for up to four years.