What Is Marjoram And How Can I Use It?
Whether you are a veteran chef or you are just learning how to cook, you are sure to benefit greatly by adding herbs to your list of favorite cooking ingredients. Foods that are cooked with herbs simply taste better. When first starting out on your culinary journey, it can be intimidating to look at the vast array of herbs available at the grocery store or farmer’s market and know what to do with them. It is best to do some research on different types of herbs and sure fire food combinations to use with them that have been tried and tested.
Some herbs are more common than others. For example, you may have heard of the herb thyme, but perhaps you have never heard of the herb marjoram. If you have a pre-packaged herb and spice rack in your kitchen with a little bottle labeled “marjoram”, you may have asked yourself the question, “What is marjoram and how can I use it?” Of course we always prefer fresh herbs, and you can purchase marjoram plants online directly from our store.
Marjoram plant with flower buds
What Is Marjoram Exactly?
Marjoram is an herb in the mint family that is commonly mistaken for oregano, although it has a milder flavor. Many say that it has a slight taste of citrus and sweet pine. It grows wild in Mediterranean countries such as Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece, and is a popular additive to their sauces, soups, and meat dishes. Because marjoram is a perennial, it can live for several years. However, it typically does not survive cold temperatures. If you decide to grow marjoram on your own, you may need to replant it in a pot during the colder months, depending on where you live. This herb prefers full exposure to the sun and is best planted in well-drained soil where it has room to spread.
How Can I Use Marjoram?
The herb marjoram is often used in body care products such as soaps, lotions, and shaving gel. It is sometimes made into an essential oil used in aromatherapy treatments because of its apparent ability to sooth one to sleep and reduce stress. Some other proposed benefits of Marjoram include its ability to relieve flatulence, nausea, cramps, and swelling.
Aside from marjoram’s health and beauty uses, it also has many culinary uses. Both fresh and dried leaves can be used to season foods with its mild, bittersweet taste. It is often included in the popular English dish of roast goose with chestnut stuffing and in German cooking as a part of a spice mixture added to sausage. In most recipes, you will see marjoram called for in combination with other herbs and spices such as oregano, basil, and parsley.
Recipes That Call For Marjoram
Try the following recipes or experiment with some of your own in order to get a taste of marjoram.
Black-eyed Peas and Leeks
Recipe from Miriam Bale
- 4 leeks, dark green parts trimmed, quartered lengthwise, sliced in ½ inch segments
- 3 cups cooked black-eyed peas
- ¼ – ½ teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3-4 tablespoons butter
- salt to taste
The night before, cover black-eyed peas with water and soak them for at least four hours. Drain, place in a large pot, and cover with about 3 inches of water. Simmer until the peas are cooked through, salting generously in the last ten minutes of cooking. While the peas are cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat with 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pan. When hot, add some salt and stir in the leeks. Cook gently, stirring frequently until the leeks appear golden. Add the peas to the skillet. Cook until heated through, and then stir in the marjoram, tarragon, some salt, and the remaining 2-3 tablespoons of butter.
Grilled Fish with Orange and Marjoram
Recipe from Eric Werner
- 2 1 1/4-pound gray snapper, whole porgy, or branzino, cleaned
- 8 sprigs fresh marjoram + 1 tablespoon marjoram leaves (dried marjoram can be used)
- 2 small oranges or tangerines, peeled, seeded, and separated into segments
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Prepare a charcoal grill or a gas grill to medium-high. Make 3 diagonal slices spaced about 1 1/2″ apart on each side of fish. Season fish with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff each fish with 4 herb sprigs and segments from 1/2 orange. Rub each fish with 1 tablespoon oil. Grill fish for 3-4 minutes, or until skin no longer sticks. Carefully turn fish and grill until cooked through, about 3-4 more minutes. Transfer to platters and garnish with remaining marjoram leaves and orange segments.
Using marjoram in health and beauty care or in cooking is a great way to explore this less-often used herb. As you try out other uses for marjoram in recipes and in everyday life, you are sure to be delighted by its unique aromatic properties.
We had a great time showing James all around the farm- we even sent him home with some potted herb souvenirs!
Last week, our good friend, James Farmer came up for a demonstration on garden to table living and while here, he stayed in the cottage on our farm. We had a wonderful time strolling through the test gardens, talking about his favorite culinary herbs for his infamous Southern recipes, and chatting about country life, gardening and everything in between!
In the greenhouse, James discovered the benefits of Holy Basil and even helped us pot his very own herb garden kit, the James Farmer’s Favorites Herb Collection, where he includes his favorite culinary herbs for making his delicious drinks and dishes.
Our newest herb kit, the James Farmer's Favorites Herb Collection was hand picked by James himself!
We introduced James to Holy Basil and taught him about its rich history and wonderful medicinal benefits.
When walking through the test gardens, we discussed the investment and versatility that perennial herbs lend. For example, I showed James that more than just a beautiful flower for the garden or in arrangements, Pyrethrum is a natural insect repellent and is used in many organic insecticides.
"Pyrethrum is beautiful in the garden or in arrangements, and is also a natural insect repellent used in many organic insecticides."
You can purchase James’s book, A Time To Plant: Southern-Style Garden Living and get loads of design tips, recipes and more, AND six of his favorite culinary herbs to create endless concoctions and dishes when you buy the James Farmer’s Favorites Herb Collection and Book!
We had such a wonderful time with James on the farm, we can't wait until he comes for another visit!
We had a such a fantastic time with James and can’t wait for him to come back! For more information on James, or his newest release, Sip and Savor: Drinks For Party and Porch, please visit his website!
We are so excited that our good friend, James Farmer is coming to visit and stay at our farm this week! As part of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week, James is coming to visit and give us an exclusive demonstration on his garden to table arrangements as well as share some of his favorite food and drink recipes from his two books, A Time To Plant: Southern-Style Garden Living, and Sip and Savor, Drinks For Party and Porch, which was just released. James has a wonderful eye for design and has used his talents to bring gardening to a gourmet level. Throughout his elaborate table settings, stunning arrangements and in his Southern-chic food and drink recipes, James incorporates his passion for herb gardening for a refined but “down home” feel. As the most creative new personality in the garden living world, James still stays true to his Southern roots, drawing his inspiration from his family farm in Kathleen, Georgia.
James Farmers Favorites
To celebrate James’s visit to our farm and his fantastic new book, A Time To Plant, Southern Style Garden Living, we’ve created the James Farmer’s Favorites Herb Collection to offer some of his favorite herb plants! We’ve included Lavender ‘Hidcote’, for its beauty in arrangements or as a garnish, and for its wonderful fragrance and light, floral flavor in drinks and recipes. For a true Southern experience, we added ‘Kentucky Colonel’ Mint, a robust spearmint that grows effortlessly and is the key component to a real Southern tradition, the Mint Julep. ‘Lemon Sweet Dani’ Basil was chosen for its delicate citrus tones and lovely blooming spires, making it perfect for flavoring seafood, salads and garnishing summer desserts. To share a savory note, we also added our Rosemary ‘Arp’, a flavorful, cold hardy, Rosemary that seasons meats, stews and full flavored desserts. (James loves using the Rosemary twigs as skewers for adding fruit kebabs to his delectable drinks!) Rounding out his favorites, are ‘Italian Flat Leaf’ Parsley for its full body flavor and lovely leafy foliage, and ‘English’ Thyme, a classic culinary herb that grew in his grandmother’s kitchen garden and of which he has fond, flavorful memories.
We have even included the option to buy either this collection of six culinary herb plants to get your garden started with Southern style, or the James Farmer’s Favorites Herb Collection AND James’s new book, A Time To Plant, Southern-Style Garden Living, for a lovely added gift.
If you may already have these wonderful culinary herbs in your garden, you can purchase A Time To Plant: Southern-Style Garden Living sold separately. Whether you treat yourself or give this as a thoughtful gift, the James Farmer’s Favorites will be a sure delight for entertaining in the garden and in your home!
Our Marketing Director, Caroline, proves that fresh herbs can make even the worst frozen dish, fantastic!
As a struggling cook with little more than the ambition to want more than take-out every night, cooking can be hard. Cooking something that you’re actually excited to put on your plate can sometimes be even harder, if you’re a frugal yet resourceful, 20-something year old, like myself. So how do you get the most punch for your palate, while on a budget? Dress up inexpensive, everyday foods using fresh culinary herbs.
Between my indoor winter herb garden and the dried or frozen herbs I preserved from last year’s garden, I’ve been getting creative in my kitchen. I’ve turned cheap frozen pizzas into delectable masterpieces with Basil that I harvested and froze for a rainy day, and fresh Italian Oregano and Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, which have thrived outdoors in our mild winter this year. I’ve created every soup imaginable from canned pantry items, frozen veggies and English Thyme, Cutting Celery and Curly Parsley from my garden. And, most recently, I even conquered breakfast by adding freshly dried Rosemary ‘Salem’ to my instant pancakes to create one of my newest favorite foods. (To see WHERE I got these fresh Rosemary ‘Salem’ clippings, check out our video of our herb expert, Briscoe, teaching you how to hard prune your woody perennials!)
Herbs offer a terrific way to really jazz up your culinary routine, or if you’re cooking on a budget like me, they add tons of flavor and lots of valuable vitamins and nutrients to otherwise bland food. Don’t forget that your herb garden is a valuable investment that offers many flavorful rewards, so try experimenting with your favorite dishes by incorporating fresh herbs into your next meal and take your culinary skills from “ramen” to “righteous”! Check out our Cook’s Exchange for more herbal recipes, or try the one below.
After watching a Top Chef marathon and deciding it was time for brunch this past weekend, I tried my hand at some VERY creative pancake combinations. Luckily, a few of them were worth eating, so here’s one to try:
Caroline’s Accidentally Awesome Rosemary Pancakes
- Instant Pancake Mix
- Fresh Rosemary (pick your favorite, they’re all great!)
- Andes Mints, chopped (optional)
- Just follow the follow the directions for the desired amount of pancakes, on the back of the box,and mix the batter until there are no lumps.
- Add oil to your frying pan on medium-hot heat.
- Wash, dry and crush or chop the fresh Rosemary.
- Pour pancakes to desired size in your frying pan, and top with a generous sprinkle of Rosemary. (I was also making Andes Mint pancakes during this experiment, and some of the chocolate get mixed in with the Rosemary. It tasted terrific together, so for a sweeter pancake, try adding a little chocolate and Mint to compliment the Rosemary.)
- Cook til golden brown on both sides and eat until you’re full!
When our Co Owner, Kenan White, recently found an opportunity to see James Farmer speak, she immediately booked her flight to the AmericasMart show in Atlanta, Ga. Meeting him after his talk was an exciting added bonus! Read on to see why we are so impressed with this brilliant Southern gentleman.
James Farmer’s lecture on “Herban Gardening” at the Atlanta Mart was the highlight of my buying trip!
This true Southern gentleman would make his mama proud! Handsome, polite, self-effacing, and oh so talented. Since I have been following James’ work for some time, I didn’t quite know what to expect, but this one is the ‘real deal’! I’ve been in this business for over a decade, seen them come and go, but my guess is that James is here to stay. Talented for sure, but authenticity counts almost as much.
I’ve tried to recreate his gorgeous arrangements and delicious recipes at home, but after spending an hour watching him arrange and cook and entertain, I realized I have a lot to learn. His seamless and gracious presentation had me imagining myself on his front porch, a late afternoon summer breeze making it all bearable, sipping on his mint infused tea and taking a bite of Mimi’s Apple Cake.
For anyone who’s unfamiliar James, check out his website … and go out and get his book – A Time to Plant: Southern Style Garden Living. For all of us below the Mason Dixon, he reads like a well known novel. For those of you outside of the real South, get ready to experience ‘our’ way of life!
Bless him for sharing.
While winter is still flirting with us here in zone 7, many of our friends are already hunkered down throughout the country to weather out winter storms. Though I love the simple beauty of winter, I hate that freezing feeling. You know the one, where you can’t seem to ever get warm. The one that no matter how many layers of socks you put on, you still have toecicles. It’s that down-in-your-bones-cold feeling that no heap of blankets can seem to remedy. If you’re having trouble staying warm from the inside out, then it’s time to brew some delicious hot tea. There’s no quicker cure for this kind of coldness, than a steaming cup of herbal tea to lift your spirits, warm your bones and relax your mind. For an added benefit, try mixing medicinal herbs into your brew to ward off those worrisome winter sniffles.
Here’s a great recipe from our Marketing Director, Caroline, who usually uses her cats as a “mew”-lectric blanket, but when they’re not enough, she turns to a hot cup of herbal tea from her garden.
We’ve had a relatively mild winter here in the Richmond, VA area this year, so when we experienced our first cold day, it was a shock. I got home after a long commute in the cold, and I just couldn’t leave the January chill at the door. I turned the heat up and donned a sweater but still wasn’t satisfied with the temperature. After a quick survey of the kitchen, I realized that it must be time to grocery shop, because I was out of herbal tea. Instead of chattering any longer, I realized that because of the unseasonably warm winter we’d had until this point, I still had a few hardy herbs left in my gardens outside and some indoor potted herb gardens thriving in my kitchen.
Younger Horehound leaves are covered in a protective fuzz that they shed as they grow bigger.
I gathered a handful of Horehound, an old fashioned medicinal herb, related to mint that acts as a soothing expectorant. Though not approved by the FDA you can find Horehound in many candies, cold remedies and lozenges, and makes a wonderful tea. (As with all medicinal herbs though, you should consult your doctor or herbalist if taking other medications and it shouldn’t be taken in large doses, especially by people with heart conditions or who may be pregnant because it may affect your blood pressure or existing heart conditions.) I think it’s a beautiful plant in the garden, with its fuzzy, textured leaves and was excited to try it in tea. I found it to be slightly on the bitter side, so next time I’m adding more Mint and maybe even some Stevia to sweeten it up!
Chocolate Mint is a beautiful addition to your kitchen garden.
I also picked a few dark sprigs of Chocolate Mint and some large, bright green leaves of Kentucky Colonel Mint for flavor. Mint has always been one of my favorite plants- it’s easy to grow, easy to use, and each variety has its own charm. The smooth, dramatic leaves of the Chocolate Mint and the brilliantly green texture of the Kentucky Colonel Mint look as great in an herb bouquet as they taste in a tea! These two varieties are a unique twist on the standard Peppermint flavor. Kentucky Colonel has a bold, spicy spearmint taste that works well in summer drinks and salads. Chocolate Mint has a smoother, more subdued flavor, warmer than some of the other varieties, and tastes great in desserts. Both of these culinary herbs are perfect for making tea, as Mint is a great digestive aid and its strong mentholated aroma allows you to breathe more easily.
Kentucky Colonel Mint is great for more than just Mint Juleps!
Being too impatient to dry my herbs, I washed and chopped them and then packed them into a small tea infused. Just add hot water and let the leaves steep for a bit! You can also dry your herbs in advance for more of a traditional tea.
You can also use cheesecloth to make a small pouch for infusing.
Consider tisanes (herbs for making tea or herbal infusions) when you’re planning your next garden. We all love teas with more floral flavors, like Chamomile and Lavender, but don’t forget that many culinary herbs make a great tea, too. Some other unlikely candidates for a healthy, flavorful tea to warm your bones are Lemon Grass, Rosemary, Basil and Lemon Thyme. Try mixing different variations of your favorite culinary herbs and discover a delicious new way to use your garden! Want to get a start on your herb garden during these cold winter months? Try one of our Potted Herb Garden Kits, like our Time For Tea Gift Set and we’ll give you everything you need, from soil to saucer, to grow your own tea garden.