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I’ve grown several herbs in my indoor garden window over the years. Marjoram is my latest addition! After the heirloom seeds (Origanum majorana) I planted started to grow, I immediately discovered that sweet marjoram is a very easy herb to cultivate.
It sprouts quickly and is very resistant to dry soil. It doesn’t easily wither like other herbs when I would forget to keep up with the watering for a few days.
Sweet marjoram grows bountifully. Growing it will make you feel like an ace gardener even if you are a novice! The leaves are small, spherical, and woolly in appearance. The grey-green leaves grow opposite each other as you can see in the image above which compares to other popular culinary herbs.
Delicate white or pink flowers bloom where the stems meet when the plant is fully mature. When the flowers are just buds, they look like knots, which explains why a commonly used name for this herb is knotted marjoram. Sweet marjoram should be picked immediately after it begins to blossom. It can be consumed either fresh or dried.
Marjoram is sensitive to cold and is ideal for growing in warmer climates as you can cut it back in the Fall and get regrowth in the Spring provided the winter wasn’t too cold with overly thick frost. It does require some sun, preferably around 5 hours per day so it really grew well in my garden window which gets only morning sun.
Sweet Marjoram for Cooking
Sweet marjoram’s taste is similar to oregano. Be careful not to confuse it with this herbal cousin even though it is sometimes referred to as “wild marjoram”.
Excluding the roots, all parts of sweet marjoram are edible including the leaves, soft stems, buds, and flowers.
This distinctive smelling herb when mature has a sugary aroma and essence. It is best used as a savory spice in cooking, however, never sweet ones despite its name!
Marjoram is excellent for seasoning stews and meat dishes of all kinds but can also be used for veggie and egg dishes.
I use it in these recipes:
Although I’m not a soap maker, I’ve been told that marjoram lends a wonderful scent to soaps and other artisanal personal care products. It holds its scent when dried better than many other herbs.
Drying herbs is very simple. This article on how to dry homegrown basil describes the easy, straightforward process. The same basic steps can be applied to other herbs you buy fresh or grow yourself.
Be sure to store the dried marjoram properly to preserve potency, however!
The Herb of Happiness
Historically, marjoram is known as the herb of happiness in Greek and Rome lore.
Newlyweds in these ancient cultures wore garlands of marjoram on their heads as a symbol of love and happiness. Marjoram growing on a grave was thought to symbolize that the departed would enjoy a pleasant afterlife.
Perhaps marjoram’s reputation for enhancing happiness is due to the calm it can impart to the nervous system as described below.
Marjoram has been used traditionally in herbal medicine. It was known primarily as a remedy for water retention (edema). In addition, it has a reputation for relieving inflammation and pain when taken as a therapeutic tea.
This is not surprising given that sweet marjoram along with the wild oregano has been noted by the USDA to have some of the highest antioxidant properties of all culinary herbs. (1)
The essential oil of marjoram is used in aromatherapy for the following purposes:
If you’ve never grown herbs before and want to start, marjoram is a good one to try first.
Easy to grow, delicious to eat, and highly antioxidant to boot. What more could you want? It may even confer an extra boost of happiness to your gardening and cooking endeavors!
Marjoram is contraindicated for use during pregnancy as it has a tendency to induce menstruation. Consult with your practitioner before use during nursing.
Well switching to natural way is the best option to be healthy.
Check out the following link htttp://www.divinewellness.com to explore more natural way.
This is an awesome post! Would you mind sharing it on the Wildcrafting Wednesday blog carnival? I’m sure my readers would love it! 🙂
when i had my restaurant i made a marjoram sausage that was HUGE hit! i highly recommend
trying it in sausage (mine were in lamb casing but patties work really well too). a great complement to the sausage is lentils with caramelized onions and reduced balsamic syrup.
Would LOVE to get your recipes for the sausage, lentils and syrup. Please share! 🙂
I tried to start a packet of marjoram seed this past spring. Only one seed sprouted and I nursed it in hopes of getting something to use. It’s in a pot and too tiny to do anything with. I love the scent of it and I’m disappointed that it didn’t grow well. It didn’t come from Seeds of Change so I wonder about the quality or else I just don’t grow herbs well. On the other hand, my dill did very well.
Darlene Wray via Facebook
this stuff is all over my backyard and my neighbor’s yard. going to have to start using it!
The Working Home Keeper
I’ve never grown marjoram – although I may try after reading this! But I’ve used dried marjoram to season local, ground pastured pork for breakfast sausage patties.
The Working Home Keeper
I grow it every year but never seem to come up with a way to use it. Most recipes that I use don’t use the herb.
That reminds me. I have to go dig it up and hope it lives in my pots for the winter. 🙂
Marjoram is a favorite herb in the traditional cooking of Poland and other eastern European countries, and has been used all over the Mediterranean region, since ancient times. Not only was it the herb of happiness, but it had a reputation for repelling evil forces and preventing illness. I like to use it in stews and pot roasts, and as a marinade ingredient.
What a timely article! I used marjoram for the first time last night in a Butternut squash soup recipe. I was thinking about what I’d do with the rest of it, then came your article. Thank you! Pizza here we come.
HealthyHomeEconomist (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon) (@HealthyHomeEcon)
Marjoram: The Ancient Herb of Happiness – The Healthy Home Economist http://t.co/FZczmD06