The International Herb Association has selected savory as Herb of the Year for 2015. A beautiful herb it is, and a well deserved honor indeed.
Savory’s use as a cooking herb dates back to well over 2,000 years. Both varieties, winter and summer, have a strong, but delicious flavor. The Latin name for summer savory is Satureja hortensis, and winter savory is Satureja, S. Montana. Winter savory is often used for cooking roasts, stew, game meats, while summer savory finds its way into slow simmered Navy beans or baked beans. Both savories have earned the title “bean herb.”
The early colonists brought both variety of savory with them on the journey, and used the dried winter savory as a tea for digestive upsets. Summer savory is used mostly for cooking, while the winter savory is used for medicinal purposes. The Cree Indians [ women of the tribe ] drank a tea made from savory for menstrual cramps.
Both savories can be planted after May 1st, when all danger of frost is past. Prepare the seed beds, and rake them smooth. Scatter the tiny seeds, but do not cover them. Tamp them down with the back of a rake. Keep the seed bed evenly moist until the seeds have sprouted. Savory prefers afternoon sun, and will do well in containers also. Harvest the leaves as the plants grow upward. Because the stems are spindly near maturity, some gardeners plant savory and zinnia seeds together, allowing the zinnias to support the savory stems as they grow. Nothing is more beautiful than watching butterflies and bees as they visit the zinnias and the savory on a hot summer day. Simply mix half zinnia seed and savory seed together and scatter them on top of the prepared beds.
Savory dries well. Clip the stems before the plants flower, tie the stems together with twine, and hang them up in a warm and airy place. Once the stems are completely dry, crumble them slightly, and place them in glass jars with tight fitting lids. They’ll hold their fragrance and flavor for months. Store the jars in a cool, dark area.
Days to maturity – about 70, depending on rain, temperatures and soil.
Blessed Be, sweet ones.
~ Meadow Walker