Are oregano flowers edible? You bet they are, and they’re quite delicious. One of the most popular Mediterranean herbs, oregano is commonly used in Italian dishes. Also, oregano is a popular herb for making herbal tea.
This delicious herb comes from the same plant family that mint comes from, and it is commonly known by several different names, including:
- Greek oregano
- European oregano
- Wild marjoram
- Spanish thyme
- Winter marjoram
Oregano’s scientific name is origanum vulgare, and whatever you want to call it, there are tons of uses for both oregano leaves and oregano flowers. The leaves of this plant are often used to form a spice but there is more you can do with oregano once you know how to. Once you learn to harvest oregano leaves, you may also want to know how to harvest the flowers for best results. Let’s take a look at that in more detail.
Are Oregano Flowers Edible?
Oregano flowers are edible and add interest, color, and flavor to countless dishes. The flavor of oregano flowers is much less intense than that of dried oregano leaves, which have an intense flavor. The leaves of the oregano plant are often used in cooking and made into a spice.
In leaf form, oregano has a slightly bitter peppery flavor that lends itself well to Italian and Mediterranean dishes. However, the flowers are much more subtle in flavor so they are ideal for times when you want just a hint of oregano. Sometimes the flowers are used in tomato sauces, as the flavor of the flowers is a bit milder.
Related: Are rosemary flowers edible?
What do oregano flowers taste like?
While oregano leaves have an extremely strong flavor, the flowers have a flavor that is much more delicate. It has a taste that is a bit like thyme. Many people might actually like the more subtle taste of the oregano flowers.
This culinary herb can be used in a variety of ways. The dried leaves are crushed and used in cooking or sprinkled on top of foods, as described above. But there’s more to this great plant than just those flavorful leaves. You can also use its flowers.
How to grow and harvest oregano flowers
If you plan to use oregano flowers in your cooking, you first need to grow the oregano the same as you normally would. Typically, you would plant them 8 to 10 inches apart in a place with full sun. You can also plant in containers if you leave them in a window or place to get full sun. When growing in warm climates, you should allow for some partial shade. Use fertile soil with good drainage, with a pH of 6.5-7.0 for best results.
You can mix aged compost or rich organic matter into the native soil to help young plants take root and do their best. They can tolerate a bit of dry soil so avoid overwatering.
For the best flavor from the leaves, you want to harvest just before the flowers bloom, but when you want to use the flowers too, you can wait until they bloom for harvesting.
How to make herbal tea with oregano flowers
Oregano flowers won’t stand up to the heat, but that certainly doesn’t affect the flavor. Here is how to make herbal tea.
- Boil 10-12 ounces of water.
- Add one teaspoon of loose oregano flowers to your hot water.
- Allow your tea to steep for 5-10 minutes.
- Strain the oregano flowers using a small-holed mesh strainer and discard them when you’re done.
- Enjoy your oregano tea with your choice of honey, sugar, or agave syrup.
Alternatively, you can put your oregano flowers into a tea infuser and allow them to steep for 5-10 minutes. This is a great way to get more use out of your oregano flowers during the growing season.
Is drinking oregano tea good for you?
Traditionally, oregano tea has been used for a variety of health concerns, including cough, sore throat, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, and digestive problems. Moreover, oregano has diuretic properties, so some people have used it to ease edema and bloating.
Here are some of the vitamins and nutrients that are found in oregano.
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
Scientific studies on the potential for oregano to treat medical conditions are limited to most animals. However, the findings are promising. Oregano is rich in both phenolic acids and flavonoids, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It’s a good idea to give this tea a try. This is just one more way to use oregano’s edible flowers in your kitchen.
Why not reap the possible benefits by using your oregano flowers to make a soothing herbal tea?
Can You Use Oregano Flowers in Cooking?
Oregano flowers are delicious in cooking, and the flavor will be much less intense than dried oregano or fresh oregano. The milder flavor lends itself to many dishes where the regular oregano may be just too much.
True oregano as a fresh herb has been around for a long time, but you can learn to incorporate the tiny flowers into your dishes as well. If you’re like most of us, you truly want to make the most of your herb garden and use all of the parts of the plant that you can.
One popular way to use oregano flowers in cooking is to use them sprinkled on pizza and in vegetable dishes. They also make a tasty and decorative salad topping.
Olive oil infused with oregano flowers
Another way to use oregano blossoms is by making olive oil infused with the flowers. This is an ideal use for these beautiful flowers because they will delicately flavor the olive oil instead of overpowering it as oregano leaves might do.
To make olive oil with oregano flowers, all you need is fresh oregano flowers and extra-virgin olive oil. Here’s an important tip: If you wash your oregano flowers before infusing the oil, be sure you allow them to dry completely because the moisture will spoil your oil when it’s in storage.
Here are the steps to make your oregano flower-infused olive oil.
- Gather your ingredients.
- Put the oil and oregano flowers into a slow cooker.
- Cook uncovered on high for one hour.
- Turn the slow cooker off and allow the oil to cool until it reaches room temperature.
- Strain your delicious infused oil into a clean dry glass jar and cover tightly.
This infused olive oil will keep in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to one month.
You can use this delicious oil on pizza, on top of focaccia, and on roasted vegetables or potatoes. Also, you can brush this oil onto roasted chicken for extraordinary flavor. It would also be tasty with bread dipped into it.
Recipes for oregano flowers
On the Illinois Extension website, we found a wonderful recipe for Grilled Caprese Pizza with Oregano Flowers. It is made with a flatbread crust, so this pizza is a quick and easy one to make. The oregano flowers are added after the pizza is cooked, just before serving.
Are you craving a salad? Check out this recipe for Heirloom Tomato Salad with Feta and Oregano Flowers. You can use any type of tomatoes you happen to have on hand. With a full clove of garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and creamy feta, this dish is a winner.
You can also make honey that is infused with oregano flowers.
What Else Are Oregano Flowers Good For?
In addition to eating, you can use oregano flowers for other things, including craft projects, However, oregano plants are also valuable to have in the garden, even if you don’t eat a lot of oregano or plan to use the oregano flowers for cooking. Most oregano plants are edible, just be sure you’re using plants you’ve grown yourself or that you know the source of them. You shouldn’t eat something you find randomly in the wild because you don’t know if it’s been treated with chemicals.
Golden oregano (Origanum vulgare var. aureum) is one popular edible type. Hopley’s Purple Oregano (Origanum laevigatum) is another type that is edible. While you can eat oregano raw, most people find it too pungent and this is why it is added to cooking instead. The fowers are milder in flavor and could be eaten raw, sprinkled over the top of a salad, etc.
Oregano flowers attract pollinators to the garden
Besides adding flavor to your table, oregano plants add fragrance and color to your garden.
Moreover, oregano flowers attract pollinators like bees and butterflies, so it’s great to have oregano growing in your yard or garden even if you don’t manage to eat it all.
If honeybees frequent your oregano flowers, the honey they produce will often have the mild flavor of oregano blossoms.
Oregano flowers are great for crafts and in potpourri
You can use dried oregano flowers and use them in craft projects. To dry oregano, hang the plants and flowers in a dark, well-ventilated area until they are completely dried.
While your oregano is drying, you will smell the wonderful fragrance all throughout the area.
Adding oregano flowers to potpourri gives your creation an incredible fragrance.
You probably have lots of questions about oregano and oregano flowers. The good news is that we have answers. Let’s take a look at some of the things commonly asked about this plant.
What do oregano flowers look like?
Oregano flowers are usually white or pink rose-purple and since they grow on the ends of the stems, the color is gorgeous. There are even some varieties of oregano plants that produce purple flowers. The blossoms form in clusters.
Should I be pinching off my oregano flowers?
Pinching off your flowers and using them in recipes will help your plants to grow bushier and produce leaves for longer. It will also slow the process of your plants going to seed.
Will oregano come back every year?
Oregano is a low-growing perennial and can be an excellent groundcover in sunny areas of your yard. Consider covering your oregano with some straw to protect it during harsh winters. This will ensure that it returns the following year.
What type of oregano has white flowers?
Greek oregano has flowers that are white. Also, Greek oregano has fuzzy leaves.
Italian oregano has off-white flowers.
Another type of oregano that has white flowers is Syrian oregano.
Why type of oregano has purple flowers?
If you’re wanting purple oregano flowers, consider planting Mexican bush oregano. The flowers are a beautiful purple color and this hardy plant can survive in harsh climates. In some areas, it is called rosemary mint or Mexican sage.
Golden oregano also has purple and pink flowers.
Can I harvest oregano after it blooms?
The best time for harvesting oregano is just before it flowers. At this time, the flower buds will have just started to form. When your oregano is at this stage, the leaves are at peak flavor and intensity.
Is oregano still good after blooming?
As we mentioned above, oregano is most flavorful if it is picked before the plant flowers. However, you can still eat oregano even after it begins to flower: it might just be a little bitter.
One thing to remember is that after oregano flowers, it will likely produce seed. However, it’s challenging to grow oregano from seed and whatever grows will probably not remain true to the mother plant. Because of this, there is no need to save the seeds when you harvest your oregano and oregano flowers.
Now that you know all of the delicious and creative things you can do with oregano flowers, you can enjoy your own oregano harvest. As one of the most popular herbs around for the kitchen, it just makes sense to learn other ways to use the different flavors this beautiful plant can deliver. Whether you infuse some honey or pull together a savory pizza or pasta sauce, your oregano flowers will be put to good use.
What is something new you learned from this post? Do you have any tips or ideas for using oregano flowers in your cooking that you want to add?
Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project. Check your her books below: