Oregano is a popular herb that’s used to add flavoring to foods. It can be used as a salad topping, used in soups and stews, and in making stir-fry. Since oregano tends to go bad quickly once it’s harvested, you may wonder how long they last.
So, how long does oregano last? Fresh oregano will last 5 to 7 days, while dried and ground oregano last 2 to 3 years. It’s important to always keep them properly stored in order to maximize their shelf life.
How Long Does Oregano Last?
Fresh oregano will last 5 to 7 days if it’s kept in the fridge. At room temperature, fresh oregano will last no longer than 2-3 days.
Dried and ground oregano has the longest shelf life. These can last up to 3 years if it’s properly stored in an airtight container.
Can Oregano Go Bad?
Yes, oregano can go bad. Fresh oregano, once it’s harvested, it doesn’t stay fresh for a very long time. For that reason, it’s best to buy fresh oregano when you’re ready to use it.
For dried or ground oregano, it’s rare that it will go bad. Most of the time, the oregano will start to lose its potency over time. The longer that it is stored, the more the taste will deteriorate.
How To Tell When Oregano Is Bad?
There are some signs to look out for when oregano goes bad. For fresh oregano, the usual signs will be the leaves wilting.
However, wilting of the leaves doesn’t mean that the herb has gone bad yet. Oregano has lost some of its moisture, which will cause the leaves to wilt. Once the leaves become wilt, you should also check for other signs as well before discarding the oregano.
Another sign to look for when oregano goes bad is the discoloring of the leaves. The leaves will turn yellow and darker.
The last thing to look for is the leaves will become soggy. This is true when fresh oregano is stored in the fridge.
Dried or ground oregano don’t actually go bad, they just degrade in quality.
How To Store Oregano
For fresh oregano, you should not store them for longer than a couple of hours. After that time, the oregano will start to wilt and lose its taste and texture.
If you need to store them at room temperature, place them in a bowl with a wet towel covering them. If you’re not going to use it within a couple of hours, store the fresh oregano in the refrigerator.
In the fridge, wrap the fresh oregano into a paper towel. The paper towel will be used to absorb the moisture of the herb. Then place the wrapped herb into a plastic bag with holes. This allows air to circulate in and out of the bag.
Storing Dried or Ground Oregano
For dried or ground oregano, the best place for storing them is in a cool and dry place. The pantry makes the best location for storing dried oregano. Make sure to put them in an airtight container, so no air can leak into it.
As for the fridge, there’s no need to store them there. The shelf life of dried oregano is the same as you would store them at room temperature.
Also, storing dried or ground oregano in the fridge could cause them to become moist and clump together. This is due to condensation while it’s stored in the fridge.
Can You Freeze Oregano?
Yes, you can freeze oregano, but only the fresh ones. Freezing ground or dried oregano will make no difference as storing them at room temperature will yield the same shelf life.
To freeze fresh oregano, the best method of storage is to freeze them as ice cubes. Simply pick the leaves off the stem and place them into the ice cube tray. Then pour olive oil into the slot until the oregano leaves are submerged. Cover the tray with a cling wrapper and place it in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
Once it’s completely frozen, take it out from the freezer and immediately transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. Seal the container tightly, label it with the date of freezing and place it back into the freezer.
Another option would be to freeze just the leaves of the oregano plant.
Freezing Ground or Dried Oregano
For ground or dried oregano, freezing isn’t necessary. Freezing them could cause them to clump together when it thaws. This is due to the moisture in the container melting.
Instead, store them in an airtight container and place them in a dark and cool place like the pantry.
How To Keep Oregano Fresh Longer
For fresh oregano, to keep them fresh longer, you should always try to harvest them when you’re ready to use them. If you’re buying them from the store, always try to buy the freshest oregano.
For dried and ground oregano, the best method to keep them fresh longer is to simply store them in an airtight container. Make sure the container doesn’t have any leaks. Also, be sure to keep them away from direct sunlight and other heat sources.
Can I use expired oregano?
For dried and grounded oregano, you can safely use it. They don’t go bad, but they will start to lose potency over time. If it’s been in storage for a very long time, oregano will lose all of its taste.
Are oregano and marjoram the same?
Marjoram is a slightly different herb than oregano. Marjoram has a more delicate taste with less bite to it. Oregano can be added to marjoram if you are looking for a stronger flavor of oregano.
Oregano and marjoram are both commonly used end of season spices. They both have a strong, pungent flavor and there is very little difference between the two herbs.
The main difference between these two end of season spices is that oregano has more thyme and clove notes, while marjoram has more anise and fennel notes.