Savory is an aromatic herb from Southern Europe that is a cross between mint and thyme.
Types of Savory:
Winter Savory -Satureja Douglasii
Summer Savory -Satureja Hortensis
Savory's wonderfully distinct piquancy brings an agreeable tasty element to relatively mild foods without overpowering them. The classic blend fines herbes and the traditional bunch of herbs for casseroles, bouquet garni will often contain savory. Savory complements egg dishes, whether chopped finely and added to scrambled eggs and omelets, or treated as a garnish with parsley. Beans, lentils and peas all benefit from the addition of savory in almost any situation. Its robust flavor holds up well in long, slow-cooked dishes such as soups and stews. Savory combines well with breadcrumbs for stuffings.
The summer savory has pale green slender leaves with delicate reddish stems. The stems are square in shape. The leaves of winter savory are bright green, narrow, and tough.
Selecting and Buying
There are two types of savory: summer savory and winter savory. Summer savory is an annual. Winter savory is a perennial. Both can be planted in spring about the time of the average last frost date or started indoors as early as 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Both will be ready for harvest about 70 days after planting.
Description. Summer savory is a fast growing annual. It grows upright to about 18 inches tall as a loose bushy plant. Summer savory has needle-shaped leaves to about 1 inch long on four-sided, gray-green stems. Summer savory flowers are light purple to pink.
Winter savory is a semi-evergreen bushy perennial that grows to about 15 inches tall. It also has needle-shaped, dark green leaves to about 1 inch long on four-squared stems that become woody with age. Winter savory has small white or purple flowers.
Winter savory has a piney, sharp flavor. Summer savory is sweet flavored.
Yield. Grow one savory plant per household.
Site. Plant savory in full sun. Summer savory prefers a rich, well-drained organic soil; winter savory prefers a well-drained, sandy soil. Savory prefers a soil pH of 6.7 to 7.3.
Planting time. Sow savory in the garden in spring about the time of the average last frost date. Savory can be started indoors as early as 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Winter savory may be slow to germinate. Savory can be started from cuttings and divisions also. Root cuttings from new growth in moist sand. Divide older plants in spring or fall. Both summer and winter savory will be ready for harvest about 70 days after planting.
Planting and spacing. Sow savory ¼ inch deep. Savory can be very lightly covered and will germinate with no soil cover. Thin successful seedlings from 12 to 18 inches apart about 4 to 6 weeks after germination. Space rows 12 to 18 inches apart. Winter savory may require more room than summer savory.
Water and feeding. Savory require regular even watering until established. Once savory is established it can be kept on the dry side. Savory does not require extra feeding. Side dress plants with aged compost at midseason.
Companion plants. Beans, tomatoes (summer savory); with other perennials (winter savory).
Care. Summer savory grows so quickly that it can become top heavy and may require staking. Winter savory is a perennial; it should be cut back to a few inches tall each spring and replanted every 4 to 5 years. Winter savory is hardy to about 10°F (-10°C).
Container growing. Sumer and winter savory can be grown in containers. Grow winter savory as an annual. Choose a container at least 6 inches deep and wide. Over-winter container grown winter savory in an unheated garage or patio.
Pests. Savory has no serious pest problems.
Diseases. Savory has no serious disease problems.
Harvest. Harvest savory fresh as needed, both leaves and stems. Winter savory can be harvested year round. In regions with a long growing season, cut plants back at the beginning of spring for second growth and a second harvest. For dried leaves, cut 6- to 8-inch stems just before flowering.
Preparation and Use
Important Rules To Remember
1. Expert cooks suggest the following rules for using herbs effectively:
2. Use with a light hand—the aromatic oils are strong, and too much of any flavor is objectionable.
3. Blend judiciously for different purposes. Have a leading flavor and combine two to four less pronounced flavors with it. Never emphasize more than one of the very strong herbs in a blend. Blends should be so subtle that only the expert can tell which herbs are used.
4. Blend or heat with butter, margarine, or other cooking fats as the best way to draw out and extend the flavor of the aromatic oils. Fresh (unsalted) "sweet" butter gives more satisfactory results than salted butter or margarine. Have salad oil tepid, not chilled, when using herbs in French salad dressing.
5. Cut or chop the leaves of fresh herbs very fine. For some purposes they should be ground in a mortar. The more of the cut surface exposed, the more completely the aromatic oil can be absorbed.
6. Keep in mind that dried herbs are three or four times stronger than fresh herbs.
7. The delicate aroma and flavor of savory herbs may easily be lost by extended cooking.
8. For soups and gravies, tie sprigs of fresh herbs in tiny bunches (bouquets) or place ground herbs in cheesecloth bags and add them about half an hour before the cooking is finished, removing as soon as they have served their purpose.
Conserving and Storing
Use savory fresh or freeze leaves or dry leaves. Dried leaves should be stored in an airtight container.