Hello my dear readers,
Another Monday is here
This week let’s discover another aromatic herb, let’s discover marjoram.
Amid the aromatic herbs, marjoram is a very interesting plant and it can be grown in the garden or in pots. It is a plant of Asian origin, now widespread as a Mediterranean flavor, used in all European cuisine, particularly in French and Italian. It also has medicinal properties, so it is used in decoctions and infusions.
Like many other aromatic plants, also from marjoram we use the leaves, which can be dried but is always better to pick them fresh from the plant. For this reason it is useful to have the plant in the garden or in a pot on our terrace, so that we can always have it fresh.
Marjoram, also known for some as Persia, is an aromatic plant originally from Persia, it grows with difficulty in areas other than those of origin, but can be found on soils with a Mediterranean climate, warm, up to 800 meters, and its properties are varied: from use in the kitchen to beauty.
Known since ancient times it was immediately considered a symbol of happiness. Widely used by the Egyptians and Romans, still used by the inhabitants of North Africa against dysentery.
Time back, crowns made with the Marjoram were placed on the heads of the spouses during wedding ceremonies, as a wish for happiness; the ancient Greeks used it both to cure diseases and to prepare perfumes and cosmetics.
Marjoram is of the same species as the more widespread and known oregano, not for nothing its scientific name is origanum majorana, and it is part of the lamiaceae family, as are the other main aromatic and medicinal plants, including rosemary, thyme and basil.
The marjoram plant shares most of the characteristics of oregano: it is a bushy shrub with perennial cultivation. The leaves are small and characterised by a light fluff on one side and during the flowering it produces small pink flowers.
If its grown outside, with the winter it loses the leaves but it does not die, the plant will return to vegetate richly at the end of the cold.
Even the taste and scent of the herb are reminiscent of oregano, although it is more delicate. Marjoram is less known than the main aromatics, but in reality it is used very often in the kitchen even without knowing it. It is in fact found as a fundamental ingredient of many mixes of aromas, in particular it is always present in those based on Provencal herbs.
Being a Mediterranean aromatic plant, marjoram loves a climate that is not too harsh, it fears winter frosts and lives willingly in very sunny positions. In areas where winter is very cold you can still cultivate this herb, with the foresight to protect it from the cold.
Marjoram is not at all demanding in terms of soil, the only condition is the absence of water stagnation. A light organic fertilization, although not strictly necessary, can help.
Marjoram must be sown in early spring. If you have a repaired nursery you can do it already in February, otherwise wait for March and April. The seedlings will be transplanted in the garden or in a larger pot when they are over 6-8 centimeters in height. Or if you want to grow the plan on your balcony, you can just sow the seeds directly in a large pot.
For the water, better to wet it periodically, always in moderation.
From marjoram we use the leaves, preferably small, so it is advisable to take the twigs from the top. I recommend choosing them from the most recent and least woody ones. The best thing is to keep the plant in a pot or in the garden adjacent to the house and pick the leaves as needed, just before using the herb.
If you want to dry it you can choose to pick whole branches, so that you can hang them for drying.
In the kitchen, marjoram is excellent for flavoring meats, fish or tomato sauces, it is often found in Mediterranean-type spice mixes, especially those of Provencal herbs, of which it is the main ingredient.
Marjoram in the kitchen should always be added raw or in the last moments of cooking, so as to preserve all its properties that are sensitive to heat.
It is used with tomatoes, cheese, beans, aubergines, courgettes, fish, shellfish and meat.
In particular the fresh floral tops accompany various meat dishes, from steaks to stews, to meats with pizzaiola, in tomatoes sauce.
Marjoram is the ideal condiment for pizzas, mixed salads, vinegars and aromatic oils. It can be used to enrich summer first courses, soups and other dishes that require a strong but delicate aroma.
Marjoram is a medicinal plant rich in vitamins and positive substances for the body, such as antioxidants (beta-carotene). The properties attributed to this herb are above all antispasmodic (therefore beneficial against cough), calming and digestive (like oregano, so it would have a positive effect on the gastro intestinal apparatus). In order to benefit from the properties of marjoram it is possible to make decoctions, infusions or herbal teas with the dried leaves of the plant.
Marjoram is a plant rich in vitamins, namely A, B, C and K, as well as minerals (magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, zinc and copper). It also contains phytonutrients that are very important for the body’s health.
Marjoram oil that is obtained from its dried flowers, is a valid ally against skin blemishes. It is enough to apply a few drops to contrast the stains.
In case of muscle contractions or rheumatic pains, marjoram can help relieve pain by relaxing the muscles.
It is also used to improve sleep due to its relaxing effect and to relieve headaches. It is also excellent for purifying the air and in the cosmetic companies that produces soaps and perfumes with it.
Are you using marjoram in your kitchen?
Thank you all for reading.
Join me next time and let’s discover Provence, region of southeast France.
And if you would like to discover more about our food, you may enjoy my previous posts
By for now 😉🤗
Photo credit: Google & Pixabay, edited by Popsicle Society