In every Greek kitchen you will find large jars of dried oregano. It is sometimes called spice, but oregano is an herb that is an important ingredient in the Greek diet. Greeks add them to almost everything: salads, feta, meat, fish, potatoes and legumes.
Scientific studies show that the addition of oregano to meat before heat treatment drastically reduces the formation of carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines, which arise when grilling, baking and frying meat. Oregano is also rich in antioxidants that protect cells, slowing down the aging process and reducing the risk of many diseases - including cancer. In addition, it also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
During one of our trips to Crete, the discovery for us was mountain oregano, which differs from the usual one that is known to all. It smells different, looks and tastes different. It grows high in the mountains on rocks rich in calcium and other important minerals. There are no roads there, so the inhabitants cut them by hand and carry them down. This kind of wild oregano draws a number of substances from the soil, which makes it contain a whole range of minerals and other beneficial substances. Wild oregano is a rich source of calcium, magnesium, and trace amounts of iron, zinc, potassium and vitamins. It is also a forgotten drug from the past, which is one of the oldest known medicinal plants. He already knew the properties of oregano Hippocrates and Aristotle.
The ancient Greeks used them as a medicinal herb and not as a typical kitchen spice. Even today, the effectiveness of wild mountain oregano surprises scientists. Initially, they tried unsuccessfully to prove that oregano has no healing properties. It turned out, however, that it works as a very effective antioxidant and antiseptic. When seasoning dishes with this type of oregano, you do not need much, because it is very aromatic and rubbed dry fingers tend to give off a very strong smell.
Mountain oregano is not available in any spice store. However, it is worth spending some time to find a seller's stall offering this herb. Its price is also higher than the price of ordinary oregano, but the long-lasting smell and intense flavor will make it possible to store them for a long time, which perfectly compensates for its higher cost.
Xinochondros (Ξινόχοντρος) is one of the most traditional food products of Crete, which was already produced in ancient times.
The applicable legal regulations introduce restrictions on the maximum weight of dried plants harvested by a single person. The directive (DAD ΒΛ45ΟΡ1Θ-ΥΡ9) issued by the Forestry Office and valid until 2018 specifies this value as 500 g of dried for individual use. Such restrictions are primarily to counteract excessive exploitation of natural vegetation, which is now too much depleted in many places.
Under the name Glyka tou koutaliou, fruits are found in very sweet syrup prepared in a traditional way in Greek houses. Well-made allow to preserve the shape, color, smell and taste of the fruit. Currently, however, the tradition of preparing these sweets is slowly disappearing, because you can buy them ready, which allows you to save time needed to prepare them.