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.


Translations: Kalnumētra, Malonus, Cimbru, Ukusan, Ngon, Smakowity, Hartig, दिलकश, Saboroso, Пикантный, Θρούμπι, لاذع, 층층이 꽃의 일종, Slaný, Gurih, May masarap na amoy, 萨沃里, Saborós, Aromatizirani, Slaný, Salato, מתובל, Kyndel, Укусан, サボリ, Sarriette, Bohnenkraut, Krydrede, Velsmakende, Sabroso, Пікантний, Suolainen, Чубрица

Physical Description

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.

Colors: pale green to bright green

Tasting Notes

Flavors: Spicy, peppery
Mouthfeel: The taste alone is very strong - best for salads, Sandwiches
Food complements: Beans, Salads, Cheese, Tomoato
Wine complements: White pino grigio wine
Beverage complements: Beer
Substitutes: Tarragon or basil

Selecting and Buying

Seasonality: january, february, march, april, may, june, july, august, september, opctober, november, december
Choosing: Just like you would choose any other herbs - bright green and no discoloraion
Buying: You can get Savory on your local grocery or supermarket.
Procuring: How to Grow Savory

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.

Cleaning: Rinse under cold running several times until all the dirt is gone.

Conserving and Storing

Use savory fresh or freeze leaves or dry leaves. Dried leaves should be stored in an airtight container.


The primary use of savory is in cooking, and the two savories were among the strongest cooking herbs available to Europeans until world exploration and trade brought them tropical spices like black pepper. The savories have been used to enhance the flavour of food for over 2,000 years. Savory is an herb so bold and peppery in flavor that since the time of the Saxons it has come to denote not only the herb itself, but is synonymous with tasty and flavorful foods.

Savory has a reputation as an aphrodisiac. The genus's Latin name, Satureja, is attributed to the Roman writer Pliny and is a derivative of the word for "satyr," the half-man, half-goat with the insatiable sexual appetite). According to lore, the satyrs lived in meadows of savory, thus implying that it was the herb that made them passionate. This belief persisted over the years, and even as recently as this century noted French herbalist Messeque claimed savory was an essential ingredient in love potions he would make for couples. As a boy his father told him it was "the herb of happiness." For hundreds of years, both savories have had a reputation for regulating sex drive. Winter savory was thought to decrease sexual desire, while summer savory was said to be an aphrodisiac. Naturally, summer savory became the more popular of the two!

History: The word savory comes from the Latin word "satureia" meaning satyr's herb. It has been associated with love potions and as a medicinal herb.

During Caesar's reign, it is believed that the Romans introduced savory to England, where it quickly became popular both as a medicine and a cooking herb. The Saxons named it savory for its spicy, pungent taste. According to some sources, it was not actually cultivated until the ninth century. The Italians may have been among the first to grow savory as a kitchen herb. It is still used extensively in their cooking and makes an especially good companion to green beans and lentils. Winter savory shrubs made popular hedges in Tudor herb and knot gardens and in shrub mazes.



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