Marjoram is a versatile member of the mint family that is similar to other well-known herbs; in particular, other mint relatives like thyme and oregano. One could say that it has certain distinctive characteristics of each. While marjoram can be used in a wide range of dishes, there are a few things that you should keep in mind to get the best results from it. Use the following tips to get the best results from this herb.
Do use marjoram in the right applications.
Marjoram is said to work best as a seasoning for meat dishes mainly. Just because it works well with meats, do not assume that that is the extent of its seasoning abilities. It is versatile enough to be used with vegetables and as one of the herbs in a bouquet garni. Like oregano and other mint relatives, marjoram plays nicely with tomato and is commonly included in tomato-based dishes. Its mild flavor makes it a good addition to uncooked preparations like salad dressings.
Do remove the leaves from the stems.
Similar to thyme sprigs, the needle-like stem of the thyme plant can pose a choking hazard. You can easily remove the leaves by gripping the stem between your thumb and forefinger and then running your fingers down it.
Do store marjoram correctly.
Marjoram is one of those herbs that work well in both the fresh form and the dried, so you have multiple options when it comes to storage. You can store fresh marjoram in the refrigerator like many other fresh herbs. Simply place the stems upright in a jar or similar container with a few inches of water; it can last for weeks using this method. You can also chop the sprigs or remove the leaves from the stems and freeze them in an ice cube tray. Lastly, you can air-dry your marjoram or dry it in a food dehydrator. Dried marjoram can last for years without losing its flavor.
Do add dried marjoram early in a long cooking process.
Marjoram is one of those herbs where the dried form has a much more concentrated flavor when compared to that of the fresh form. This makes it quite different from those herbs that actually have a much milder flavor when dried. The tendency of the flavors to intensify means that you can add it early when cooking dishes that take time. It will continue to release flavor as the dish cooks.
Do learn the difference between marjoram and oregano.
The two herbs are closely related and have a lot in common; in fact, oregano is sometimes referred to as wild marjoram. This means that there is considerable potential for getting the two herbs confused. One key difference is that marjoram has a sweeter and milder flavor when compared to oregano.
Don’t add fresh marjoram early in a long cooking process.
Fresh marjoram is less flavorful than the dried version, which means that it may lose its intensity if cooked extensively. Your best bet is to add it a few minutes before the dish is removed from the heat.