2015 Herb of the Year- Savory

SAVORY – Satureja L.

summer savory

Summer Savory

When speaking of Savory, people are most familiar with the perennial Winter Savory (Satureja montana) and the annual Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis). While more widely used as a culinary herb, Savory has also been used medicinally. Savory’s use hasbeen noted as far back as Ancient Egyptian and Roman times.

Both Winter and Summer Savory have a strong, slightly peppery flavor similar to thyme (probably due to the volatile oil thymol) and have various uses. They are good blenders, helping bring together the other flavors in dishes, and work well when used in conjunction with other herbs. While Winter Savory and Summer Savory are often used interchangeable, they do have their own distinct properties. Winter Savory has a stronger flavor so works best used in beef, lamb and wild game dishes. Since it mellows quite a bit over time when cooked, it works well in stews and slowly cooked dishes. Summer Savory is better suited for chicken, egg, tofu and vegetable dishes. It is also commonly used in stuffing. Either Savory can be used in bean, lentil or pea dishes. Savory is a key ingredient (combined with salt and paprika) in the Bulgarian table condiment Sharena Sol (colorful salt). Savory can be used fresh or dried. Try this site for some interesting recipes utilizing Winter and Summer Savory – http://www.herbalpedia.com/blog/?p=149

The medicinal use of Savory has been noted for over 2,000 years. The Egyptians used Summer Savory as an aphrodisiac (Winter Savory is believed to decrease sexual desire). Such use was continued when the Romans brought the herb with them to England. The whole plant has antiseptic, antimicrobial, aromatic, carminative, digestive, expectorant and stomachic properties. Used internally, Savory is an excellent remedy for different types of gastro-intestinal problems. It has been used in treatment of colic, flatulence, gastro-enteritis, dyspepsia, nausea and diarrhea.

It is also considered helpful in cases of bronchial congestion, sore throat and menstrual disorders and cramps. It is said to relieve dry mouth associated with diabetes. As a poultice, Savory can be used to alleviate the discomfort of bee stings and bug bites. Not recommended for use if you are pregnant.

winter savory

Winter Savory

With a rich history, Savory is a versatile herb. While it does have some noted medicinal benefits, Savory is more widely used as a culinary herb. Savory adds its own distinctive flavor to dishes, but it also helps marry flavors when combined with other herbs. It is often known as the “bean herb” because it helps relieve flatulence. Savory dries well so can be readily stored.

Green Beans with Summer Savory

2 lb fresh young green beans, trimmed
4 T unsalted butter
2 T finely chopped fresh summer savory leaves
Freshly ground black pepper

Place the beans in a large saucepan of briskly boiling water. Add salt and continue to boil beans over high heat, uncovered for 8-10 minutes, depending on the age and freshness of the beans. They should be tender but still crisp. Drain, rinse under cold running water, drain again, and return to the saucepan. Add the butter and savory. Season with pepper to taste and a little salt if necessary. Cook for 1-2 minutes and serve hot.

(The Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices & Flavorings by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz, Dorling Kindersley 1992)
Apricot–Summer Savory Bread Pudding
1 loaf day-old French bread
6 extra large eggs, lightly whisked
whole milk
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
4 Tbsp butter, softened
1/2 medium white onion, diced
1 ½ Tbsp finely chopped parsley
1 ½ Tbsp finely chopped summer savory
1 Tbsp orange zest
1/4 cup diced dried apricots

Remove the crust from the bread. Cut the bread into pieces to fit your baking dish. Place the bread in a medium bowl. Over the eggs, add enough milk to equal 6 cups. Whisk the egg mixture in another bowl with the salt, pepper, and a pinch of nutmeg. In a small pan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of the butter and sauté the onion until it is soft and golden. Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the parsley, summer savory, orange zest and apricot. Let the apricot mixture cool, and stir it into the egg mixture. Pour the egg mixture over the bread, combine gently, and let the bread mixture stand, refrigerated, for 60 minutes. Butter the baking dish with the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter. Layer the bread in the dish, making sure that the apricot and onion get tucked between the layers of bread. Refrigerate overnight or at least 2 hours to let the bread absorb the custard. Preheat the oven to 325F. Cover the baking dish with foil. Place the baking dish in a larger one, and add enough boiling water to reach halfway up the smaller baking dish. Bake the pudding for 45 minutes. Remove the foil, and bake another 15 minutes to crisp the top of the pudding a bit. When the pudding is done, it will pull away from the sides of the baking dish and puff up in the middle.

(My Favorite Herb, Laurel Keser, Callawind Pub, 1999; ISBN: 1-896511-12-0)

Quinoa Barley Salad

1 ½ cup water, stock, or vegetable juice
¼ cup bulgur
1 ½ cups water, stock or vegetable juice
1/3 cup barley
1/3 cup quinoa
2/3 cup water, stock, or vegetable juice
1 small red onion, diced
1 Tbsp finely snipped chives
1 Tbsp thyme leaves
1 cup olive oil
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup sherry vinegar
¼ cup savory leaves
salt and pepper

To prepare the bulgur, bring the water to a boil, and add the bulgur. Let stand until all the water is absorbed, about 20-30 minutes. To prepare the barley, bring the water to a boil, and add the barley. Cook the barley until tender about 15 minutes. To prepare the quinoa, rinse it under cold, running water, and drain. Combine the quinoa and water in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is transparent, about 8 minutes. To prepare the dressing, combine the onion, chives, thyme, oil, cherries, vinegar, savory and a little salt and pepper. Combine the bulgur, barley, and quinoa, and toss with the dressing.

(My Favorite Herb, Laurel Keser, Callawind Pub, 1999; ISBN: 1-896511-12-0)

~The Good Herb by Judith Benn Hurley, William Morrow and Company, Inc. 1995
~Culpeper’s Color Herbal by Nicholas Culpeper, M.D., Sterling Publishing Co., Inc
~My Favorite Herb, Laurel Keser, Callawind Pub, 1999; ISBN: 1-896511-120

~The  Encyclopedia of Herbs, Spices & Flavorings by Elisabeth Lambert Ortiz, Dorling Kindersley 1992

About Airmeith Naturals

Anna has over 25 years of experience working with herbs. She trained as a chef specializing in classical French cuisine. Anna has extensive knowledge of herbs used in cooking, as well as having researched the historic use of culinary herbs & spices. She is a Certified Community Herbalist who has completed multiple apprenticeships and classes with renowned Herbalists along with her own studies. Her concentration is in Western European Herbal Practices. She has attended college for Environmental Science as well as earning her certificate in Massage Therapy and is licensed in the state of Massachusetts. In addition, Anna is a Certified Reiki Master Teacher. Anna lives in Western Massachusetts with her family and has over an acre of gardens to play in. Anna is the herbalist at Airmeith Naturals in Holyoke Massachusetts
This entry was posted in Cooking, Gardening, herbalism, Herbs, Home & Garden, Materia medica, Natural Health, western Mass and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s