Savory | More About This Herb

It has been quite some time since I posted an informative blog about a herb or spice. Today it seemed like the right time to get back in to a rhythm. On Wednesday I received the delivery of my planting soil. It is a mixture of top soil and compost and has been placed into the planter box that the builders put up a few years ago! It has rained quite a bit and by tomorrow the soil should have settled. The first thing I am going to plant will be my seed bombs followed by some rhubarb. The rhubarb is quite ironic as I have never seen it here and so I brought seeds back from Italy. When I went to pay for the soil at my local nursery I saw rhubarb! Now, on to savory of which there are two cooking varieties, summer and winter.

The summer variety is an annual and grows to 45cm. It has slender, dark green leaves, pink flowers and an aroma of thyme and oregano Winter savory is a perennial subshrub with dark green, narrow leaved foliage and white flowers. Lemon (African) savory is an excellent culinary perennial herb with creeping branches, attractive mauve flowers and bright green, fine leaves that are strongly lemon and oregano scented. Thyme leaved savory (za’atar rumi / savory of Crete / pink savory) is a low growing, stiffly branched perennial with whorls of small greyish leaves that have an intense oregano and thyme fragrance. Yerba buena is a perennial herb with trailing branches of fragrant round leaves. Jamaican mint bush is an intensely mint scented plant with small, oval, glossy bright green foliage.

Except for yerba buena which grows well in a hanging basket out of direct sunlight, all species should be grown in full sun in well drained neutral to alkaline soil. In cold areas, give plants winter protection. All species can be propagated by seed sown shallowly in spring and early autumn.  Summer savory can be cut down whole before flowering and then dried. Harvest the leaves of the other species fresh as required and dry or freeze them in sealed containers.

Both summer and winter savory have a similar aroma – fragrant with a hint of thyme and a peppery, distinctive taste, although the flavour of summer savory is stronger. The flavour is better before the plant flowers. Savory retains its flavour when dried; in this form it is preferred for cooking. Savory goes well with lentils and peas, slow cooked soups, stews, meatloaf and egg dishes. Use it in coatings for delicate meats such as veal, and for fish. Add to sauces, pâtés and homemade sausages. It is a key herb in herbs de Provence. Use summer savory in marinades, especially for olives. In Croatian cooking, a lemon scented strain of savory is used with fish and seafood.

information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs

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