Oregano can be harvested throughout the year or only during the flowering season, depending on the part of the plant we want to harvest and the use we want to give it, as it will have more or less aroma and flavor.
Oregano can be harvested in two different ways.
One of them can be carried out throughout the year, while the other is reduced to only a few weeks at the end of summer when the plant acquires special characteristics.
It will be necessary to plan when to harvest oregano depending on whether it is to be consumed fresh or dried.
It will also be necessary to proceed in a different way depending on the desired concentration of aromatic and medicinal substances in the plant.
Curious, isn’t it? Read on and find out what it is all about.
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How to Harvest Oregano: Leaves or Flowers
Indeed, these are the two ways in which oregano can be harvested. Either its leaves or the flowering tops that form on some stems during the flowering season.
How to Harvest Oregano: Leaves
The leaves can be harvested throughout the year, since the plant preserves them at all times, although it is true that their flavor and aroma will be more or less intense depending on the time of harvest.
The time when the leaves are most aromatic seems to be just before the flowering of oregano, which usually occurs from mid-summer onwards – depending on the date of repotting or whether the plant has been cut back.
This is similar to what happens in many other plants when they come into flower -such as lettuce-; resources are mobilized towards the flowers to the detriment of the quality of the leaves, which become less juicy and more bitter.
And when does oregano flower? Well, from mid-summer to autumn, depending on the climate and when it was planted.
How to Harvest Oregano: Flowers
As already mentioned above, the other part of oregano that is usually consumed are the flowering tops, or to better understand, the clusters of flowers and small leaves that appear during the flowering season at the end of the stems.
The jars of dried oregano that can be purchased in any commercial center, usually contain this part of the plant in crumbled form.
The “flowers” are much more aromatic than the leaves although, on the other hand, the plant produces them in smaller quantities and for a short period. They are used in distillations to extract aromatic substances derived from this plant.
As for the best time to harvest the tops, it is not entirely clear. Some reports say that it is better to harvest when about 10% of the flowers are open, while others say it is preferable to wait until full flowering, or even when it is about to finish.
This level of detail may be important in commercial plantations, but at the household level, it is not necessary to be so finely tuned.
It is possible to start harvesting the inflorescences as soon as they appear and continue throughout the flowering period. We try to do this when we observe that some of the flowers are open, although we do not always get there in time.
Oregano For Fresh or Dried Consumption
Both the leaves and flowers of oregano can be consumed fresh or dried.
For fresh, simply cut them, wash them with clean water, and use them.
On the other hand, to keep them dry and consume them later, they must be dehydrated beforehand, either naturally or not – in an oven or using a hot air current.
And finally, it is preferable to harvest oregano after a few days of dry weather in which irrigation has been suppressed -if it was being watered- so that the humidity of the plant will have decreased and the aromas will be more concentrated, and the leaves and flowers will dry faster if that is what we want.
Learn more about How to Grow Oregano.