A Savory Story

Savory grows in many varieties, but the Greeks use a strong infusion of the sub-species, Satureja thymbra, to clean wine barrels each fall in preparation for the new vintage. Since savory hails from Southern European and Mediterranean regions, people there have been using savory in winemaking for centuries. Colonists brought this plant to America, where it now grows indigenously, for medicinal use in the 18th century.

A member of the mint family, this annual herb tolerates different climates and prefers direct sunlight for growth. The two most common varieties used in cooking are summer savory and winter savory and, when growing in the wild, both resemble the rosemary plant with woody branches and small purple flowers. Summer savory emits a fragrance like that of oregano and thyme and offers a lighter tangy flavor, while winter savory releases a strong, pine-like aroma and gives a pungent peppery taste to dishes. The leaves of both varieties have essential oils like thymol and carvacrol, which have antioxidant, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties.

Because of its essential oil content, savory contributes to the formulation of bitters and vermouth and is even used to flavor vinegars. Despite the slight flavor difference, summer and winter savory can be interchanged in most dishes. When used fresh and added just before serving, this herb pairs well with fish, poultry, soups, stews, beans, and cheeses. Our Cajun Style Marinade, Blend 120, is a zesty and savory blend that contains red, white, and black pepper. Try it with your next pork dish and see what this blend can do to spice up your meal! You can find it and all our other delicious blends on our Distributor Page.

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