Summer Savory, Satureja hortensis, and its close cousin Winter Savory are both part of the larger mint family. Although it doesn’t have a traditional ‘mint’ flavor, the flavor it does have, is a hot, peppery flavor with notes of marjoram and thyme, to which it is also related.
The word “savory” comes from the old Latin word sapor, which means “taste” or “flavor,” and is used to describe foods with a salty or spicy flavor – a perfect description for this flavorful herb, which was used by the Romans as a replacement for salt when supplies ran low. The herb dates back to long before the spice routes opened up.
Summer Savory has had a few hurdles to overcome, as it was known as the love herb. I have read that the Ancient Egyptians considered summer savory to be something to add to a love potion. I can’t say that I have noticed that as a property of this herb, but I have used it in the kitchen to make some dishes that I love.
Culpepper suggests using Summer Savory to make a conserve or a syrup. That sounds delicious to me. I will have to work on that one.
Springs of Summer Savory pair nicely with string beans, and many other vegetables as well as fish and chicken. Thinking of blending your own French herbs Provencal? You will be in need of Summer Savory as it is a prime ingredient.
Summer Savory is not grown by many folks these days. It is, however, a staple in the Terra Basics Gardens, both fresh and dried. It is an herb that has some excellent properties both medicinally and culinary. Summer savory dries nicely and will be available later this year as a dried herb from Terra Basics.
Consider Summer Savory as a part of your New World pantry staple.