In this article, you will learn the answer to the deep-rooted argument of oregano vs marjoram. We will look at key difference between the two herbs.
Marjoram vs oregano, you can get confused between them easily. Both marjoram and oregano are used frequently in garnishes, oils, dressings, and marinades.
So clearly, the world consumes these two herbs quite a lot. However, the question remains, which herb is which?
People get confused all the time by these herbs because of their similar looks; especially the leaves. Furthermore, they also have somewhat similar tastes.
How would the average Joe be able to tell them apart from each other? Well, by reading this article will give you all the information you need to know on the difference between marjoram and oregano.
Marjoram vs Oregano: Physical Characteristics
Origanum is the Latin name of the herb family to which they both belong. This is why it can be hard to tell the difference.
Moreover, Origanum is part of the wider herb family of mint. Western Asia, the Mediterranean, and North Africa are where it is usually grown.
Marjoram has three main types.
- Origanum heracleoticum or winter marjoram: grows in Italy
- Pot marjoram or origanum onites: has small leaves and is less sweet
- Origanum vulgare or wild marjoram; is more commonly known as oregano. It has a strong flavor with bigger leaves
Marjoram has leaves that are slightly oval and longer, almost spear-like leaves than oregano. Additionally, it might resemble mint in taste and has more hair. It also looks either greyish or whitish-green.
The flowers of both marjoram and oregano are of two colors, white and purple. They’re pretty similar in shape. However, the flowers of the marjoram cluster on the top.
Oregano’s leaves are rounder and have less hair while the oregano’s flowers blossom all over its stem.
Taste and Aroma Differences of Marjoram and Oregano
Oregano contains more carvacrol, which is a chemical compound that gives its strong aroma. It also has a more savory warm taste or what is known pungent flavor.
Marjoram, on the other hand, has less carvacrol, making it less flavorful than oregano. Marjoram has many other compounds as well.
For example, it contains terpinene that makes it sweeter. Overall it is not as strong as oregano and has more of an earthy and woodsy flavor.
Benefits: Marjoram vs Oregano
Free radicals are molecules that are harmful to the human body. However, you can prevent them with antioxidants, which marjoram has.
There are many other benefits of marjoram too. They include reduction in inflammation, as well as preventing stomach ulcers.
Marjoram is also beneficial in fighting against a pathogen called clostridium perfringens. This pathogen is commonly found in food.
Women can mix marjoram in tea and use it for various purposes. Furthermore, it is beneficial for restoring hormonal balance in women when they have irregular menstrual cycles.
Oregano, whether consumed orally or inhaled, is said to help with the following:
- UTI (urinary tract infection)
With that said, it is important to note that all of these are claims are still being tested.
Using Oregano and Marjoram in the Kitchen
You can use Oregano as a garnish like parsley for various dishes. It goes exceptionally well with zucchini, cauliflower, tomatoes, and eggplant.
Whether you’re cooking with fresh or dried oregano, chopping it is always great. What that does is release all the essential oils that are stored within bring out it’s wonderful flavor.
Tomato-centered dishes like pizza and tomato sauce go extremely well with oregano. A favorite is fresh warm bread, with olive oil, parmesan cheese, and dried orgeano. It’s aboustly delicious!
As a marinade it works great with lamb, beef, and chicken dishes, Lastly, herbs such as thyme and basil and other vegetables like onions and garlic are also a great match.
You can use marjoram, with other herbs, in a sachet of aroma for stews and braises. However, you’d need to wrap it in a cheesecloth. Freshly sprinkle it with vegetable side dishes, and you are going to love it.
German sausages and other meats also use marjoram as a preservative, including salad and meat dressings. It is also used in French herbs de Provence and Za’atar of the Middle East.
Can You Use Marjoram and Oregano Interchangeably?
Yes, you can, but only if they’re both fresh. They’re suitable substitutes for each other. However, you ought to use half of the oregano compared to marjoram.
This is because oregano is much more pungent and more aromatic. Using it in the same amount will overpower the recipe, unless you are like me an absolutely love oregano. So, you go by your personal taste.
Summing It All Up
There you have it. Marjoram and oregano might look the same, but they have many differences too.
Moreover, they have numerous health benefits, and you can use them interchangeably but with some wisdom. It’s always good to remember marjoram is more mild, and sweet, while oregano is stronger, and has a warm pungent flavor.
Lastly, either one will enhance your dish and make it more scrumptious! And I hope this guide on the difference between oregano and marjoram has been beneficial for you!