I love using Oregano in my cooking, especially in its dried from. The flavour and aroma is much more intense than that of the fresh form. I have lots of Oregano in my garden now, so I thought I would try drying some for myself.
The best time to cut Oregano for drying is just as the flowers are beginning to fade. If you cut it before then the stems will be a bit too soft and sappy.
This stem looks ideal. Just a few flowers left, but the seed-pods are very much in evidence.
Avoid ones like this, which is definitely past it.
I cut a large bunch of stems, about 30cm / 1 foot long. It's best to do this on a dry day of course, otherwise the herb may go mouldy before you can preserve it.
I put the stems into a paper bag, flower end first, and then put the bag in the airing-cupboard where I hope the Oregano will dry gently over the next week or ten days. I don't think it is a good idea to dry it too rapidly (in an oven, for instance). The bag is there to collect any leaves and flowers that may fall off during the drying process. Using a permeable paper one allows the air to circulate, whereas a plastic one would just create condensation.
When the Oregano is thoroughly dry I will strip it from the stems, lightly crush it and store it in an airtight container. I'm sure it will soon be paired-up with some of the delicious home-made tomato sauce currently residing in our freezer...