(19/07/20) – Oregano picking on Ainos and information on Oregano making process

Organizing the annual information trip for the aromatic and edible plant of oregano

Press Releases

The Management Body of the National Park of Ainos and the Geopark of Kefalonia and Ithaca in collaboration with the Hunting Association of Argostoli, announce the organization of the annual information trip for the aromatic and edible plant of oregano on Sunday, July 19, 2020, 7:30 a.m.

The aim of the trip is to inform and raise awareness of citizens and visitors of the National Park about the aromatic plant of oregano, the careful collection of which contributes to achieve its sustainable preservation in the area.

The meeting point for the oregano trip is the courtyard of the indoor gym “Antonis Tritsis”. The Management Body of Ainos National Park and the Hunting Association will ensure the movement of only a certain number of people, but beyond that the participation is unlimited with own means of transportation .

During the trip, all public health protection measures will be taken to prevent the spread of coronavirus Covid-19 and it will be necessary to use a mask inside the vehicle when transporting the oregano to the collection site.

The program of the excursion includes the information of the participants about the properties of the plant, the correct method of its collection, as well as the process of its drying. For the collection of oregano we will go to the area “Fagias”, outside the limits of the core of the National Park of Ainos. Participants must carry a pair of scissors or a small pruner and a cloth or paper bag. At the end of the collection, “oregano” will be offered by the Management Body, in the courtyard of the church of Zoodochos Pigi in Arginia.

The collection of oregano, which takes place in July, is an old, local habit of the inhabitants of Kefalonia. However, sometimes there are cases of unorthodox and incompatible with the protection of the plant, as well as cases of illegal collection from areas within the core of the Ainos National Park.

The Ainos National Park Management Agency informs that the collection of the plant, like any other species within the core of the National Park, is strictly prohibited. The Supervision / Guard personnel of the Institution record and report any such incidents to the local authorities and the offenders face the relevant sanctions of the law. For the rest of Kefalonia, the collection of oregano is permissible, but it should always be done in a conservative way (DON’T FORGET THE PLANTS!).

For more clarifications and to register, interested parties are invited until Friday, July 17, 2020, to contact the Management Agency of the National Park of Ainos (Excursion Manager: Mr. Sofia Moschopoulou, Tel .: 26710-29258 and E-mail: ainosnationalpark @ gmail.com ) .

Regarding the procedures of collection and subsequent processing and preservation of oregano, we should know the following:

Collection

Oregano is harvested, depending on the region, during the months of July-August, ie during the flowering period of the plant. The parts of the plant that are collected are the shoots, which bear the leaves and flowers. They are cut at a distance of about 10 cm above the ground. In this way the rooting of the plant is avoided, while the new shoots will emerge from the base buds next year. For this reason we always supply and use scissors. In addition, we take care not to remove all the flowering shoots from each plant, but to keep at least 2-3 shoots in each plant. The seeds that will emerge from them will ensure the multiplication of the plant. If during the collection the plants are uprooted, then they do not regenerate and the oregano can be immediately threatened with extinction from the area.

We collect small quantities, sufficient only for personal use. The collection of large quantities, e.g. for commercial use, requires, special permission from the relevant Forest Service or other competent Services.

Oregano shoots should not be collected wet or in conditions of high humidity. After cutting, they should be placed in cloth bags, baskets or paper boxes, so that the material can breathe to avoid tanning or spoiling.

Shoots with dirt or foreign bodies and shoots with unwanted leaf color or odor should not be collected. Ripe leaves (yellow or brown) should be discarded, as well as discolored ones, due to injury or infestation by diseases or insects.

Drying

Oregano should be dried carefully. The use of inappropriate methods to remove moisture from the shoots results in alteration of their aroma and color, which in a short time turns brown or even black. To maintain the green color and rich aroma of the plant, the collected shoots should be dried, either by spreading them thinly on newspaper sheets or on a cotton cloth in a well-ventilated room and inverting them at intervals, or by grouping them into small bunches. , which we tie and hang in a cool and well ventilated interior. In the above ways, stable and uniform air circulation is achieved. Their direct exposure to sunlight is not recommended,

After the shoots are completely dry, crush them into small pieces or grate them until the leaves and flowers separate from the small stems, collect them in glass jars and place them closed in a shady place, where they can be kept unchanged for a long time until and a few years.

Dangers

The collection of oregano shoots is beneficial to some extent for the plant. Cutting and collecting only a part of its shoots increases the lifespan of the plant and contributes to the growth of lateral shoots.

Despite its abundance as a native plant in all regions of Greece and the fact that part of its needs are met by the increase of its cultivation, in recent years the needs for oregano and oregano oil are constantly increasing, resulting in over-collection of the plant .

Over-collection, ie the collection of quantities larger than those that an area can withstand, as well as the uprooting of plants are practices that threaten the extinction of the population of valuable oregano. In many cases, over-collection problems in an area arise after new roads are opened. There are already testimonies of areas from which it has now disappeared, while in the past it existed in abundance.

The cultivation of oregano may face its growing demand in the future. Cases of organized cultivation are found today in several areas of Greece.

The Chairman of the Board of the
Management Body of Ainos National Park

Dr. George Drakatos
Director of Research at the
National Observatory of Athens

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