I'm Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh growing herbs is a passion I've had for more than 20 years now. The Backyard Patch is my own herb business started in 1995. I specialize in fresh, amazing, organic blended herbs. Those for cooking, tea and bath -- and they are all home-grown and hand-blended. In the last 20 years I have gained a knowledge of herbs and their flavors that I share here.
I did a post on Savory back in 2010 but since it is
the International Herb Association Herb of the Year for 2015 I thought I would revisit it. There are actually 30 types of savory, Summer Savory and Winter Savory, are two of the most common; one is an annual, the
latter a perennial. This week (because all I can think of is winter while it is -20 wind chill here) I will
focus on the perennial, Winter Savory (Satureja montana) and next time (in two weeks)
I will focus on Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis). Later this year I will do some follow up on a
few of the other species.
Winter Savory (Satureja Montana) Herb of the Week
According to some books summer and winter savory are
identical in all applications except gardening. They have a long history of
being used in cooking that stretches back in Europe at least 2000 years.
Shakespeare mentions Savory in The Winter’s Tale together with lavender and
marjoram. Winter savory is recommended
by several old writers in combination with other herbs. 17th century herbalist, John
Parkinson, described how it was dried and powdered and mixed with bread crumbs,
“to breade their meate.” To this day
Savory is still a popular ingredient in stuffing.
Known as Mountain Savory, Winter Savory is a semi-evergreen
hardy perennial that grows to 12 inches with an 8 inch spread. It flowers with small white / pink
flowers in the summer. The leaves are
dark green, linear and very aromatic.
Both types of savory grow from seed or cuttings. Always use fresh seed as the viability is
reduced after a year. Winter Savory is
somewhat slower to sprout; start it in a flat so you can keep track of the tiny seeds.
It does not need bottom heat and takes about 10 to 15 days to
germinate. Set plants in the garden 10
to 12 inches apart after the soil has warmed up and threat of frost has
passed. You can grow it in a container,
bringing it inside for the winter if you live in a cold climate. As it is only perfectly hardy to zone 6,
however, I was able to mulch it and keep it sheltered outdoors and it
overwintered in my Zone 5 garden just fine.
You can also grow Winter Savory from softwood cuttings in
spring, using a bark, peat, grit potting soil.
When these have rooted they should be planted out about 6 inches apart.
It grows in any well-drained soil of average to poor
fertility and requires less water than its annual counterpart. In fact, too much moisture in the soil can
cause winter kill. It prefers full sun.
Winter savory is hardy as far north as New York City and can be harvest fresh
all winter. You will need to replace the
plants every two or three years as it is a short-lived perennial and will begin
to die from the inside out. You can
however take cuttings from you existing plant to make replacements.
It makes a good edging plant and can look very pretty in
summer, because it can withstand occasional clipping this also makes a nice
herb to use in a hedge or maze.
Snip off the tips of branches in small amounts. Harvest larger quantities for drying, about 6
inches above the soil surface. Cut
again near the end of summer. Hang the
stems upside down to try. Winter savory
can be harvested before or after it flowers.
Savory is used in cooking and is its most popular way to be
used. Under grown by home gardeners it is
a common ingredient in meat and vegetable dishes, and especially popular in
high end restaurants. Winter savory can
also be used medicinally but it is inferior to summer savory, so instead focus
on it culinary uses. Savory can stimulate appetite and aid digestion. I shared a number of stuffing recipes some with savory recently.
Winter savory combines well with vegetables and rich
meats. The flavor of Winter Savory is
both coarser and stronger than Summer Savory it has a strong sharp peppery flavor
with a piny undertone. The advantage of Winter Savory is it provides fresh
leaves into early winter. It is good used with strong meats and pates. The flavor being strong means one should use
it sparingly to start until you get used to the flavor. Cook with fresh or
dried beans and lentils or in a white sauce for bean dishes. Mix with parsley and chives for roasting
Apply fresh sprigs to bee or wasp stings. Both Summer and
Winter Savory are considered to have a reputation as aphrodisiacs. The flowering tops can be used to make a
cleansing facial steam. You can make a vinegar with Winter savory also which
has an interesting flavor and makes a great marinade.
Barbecues angler fish with Winter savory
1 ½ lb. angler fish
1 lemon both juice and grated rind.
1 cup olive oil
salt & pepper
good handful of winter savory
Remove any bones from the angler fish and cut the flesh into
½ inch cubes. Lay the cubes in a deep
dish. Mix the lemon rind and juice,
olive oil and salt & pepper together in a bowl. Break the winter savory into small sprigs and
add to the mixture. Pour this marinade
over the fish and leave for 6 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. Thread the angler fish onto 4 skewers. Cook over barbecue or under the broiler) for
5 10 minutes, turning often and using the marinade for basting. Serve on a bed of boiled rice and accompany
with green salad.
together and divide among 6 cheesecloth bags, with one bay leaf per bag. Add a
bag to a pot of homemade vegetable or bean-based soup.
Poultry Sage Rub
This rub is of course for poultry, but it is also good on fish, beef, pork, and turkey.
1 teaspoon granulated lemon peel
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon granulated onion
1 Tablespoon rosemary finely chopped
1 Tablespoon rubbed sage
1/3 cup sage leaf
1/3 cup winter savory
Combine the above ingredients and stir
until well blended. Place in a glass jar and seal. Makes one cup of mix.
Directions for use:
Sprinkle and rub the mix according to
taste preferences on both sides of fish, beef, pork, chicken or turkey before
grilling, broiling, baking or frying. A general guide for use is 1/2 to one
teaspoon per serving.