While making my manicotti tonight, I received a painful reminder that the stuffing isn't actually the most tedious part of the process - it's pulling all the tiny leaves off the oregano stems. It seems as though the oregano I'm able to buy here is not fully grown; it's been like this for as long as I can remember.
Obviously the stems are stiff, and bitter, and generally no good to throw in the mix, at least not with any of the recipes I use. So I really need to get the leaves off the stems, and with this oregano, it's a painful process.
I've tried obvious routes, like "stripping" the leaves off the stems with my hands or a knife, but it doesn't really work. The stems are too hardy, and if I strip them hard enough to get the leaves off then I usually end up stripping the stem with it. And laying the stems flat on a cutting board and trying to chop the leaves off directly is almost impossible; the leaves are so tiny and irregularly distributed that it ends up taking longer than just pulling the things apart with my hands.
Am I missing something obvious? Is there a way to prepare these oregano leaves that's more fun than watching paint dry?