The sharp, peppery flavor of oregano makes it an indispensable ingredient in many kitchens. This hardy 2-foot-tall perennial has square stems and small green oval leaves.

Some cooks say Greek oregano has the strongest flavor. Other varieties can be very mild. Before buying an oregano plant, it's a good idea to pinch a leaf and sniff its aroma—it will give you a clue as to what you're getting.

Cutting the plant back during the season keeps it from getting leggy and gives you a good supply to dry. Oregano retains its color and flavor when dried.

Recipes Featuring Oregano

Oregano adds spark to many foods. Try these savory, tempting dishes.

"My wife grows herbs in our tiny city garden," relates Roger Burch of Staten Island, New York. "I use oregano and mint to season this refreshing Curly Endive Salad (pictured above) I created."

"Oregano Turkey Casserole is a great way to use up leftover turkey—the oregano really enhances its flavor," notes field editor Edie DeSpain of Logan, Utah.

"It takes just five ingredients to dress up a package of frozen rolls to make this buttery, crusty loaf called Herbed Bubble Bread," says Anita Whorton of Powder Springs, Georgia.

"Baked Zucchini Squares is a real crowd-pleaser," says Anna Tarlini of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.