Summer and Winter Savory

SUMMER AND WINTER SAVORY – Satureja hortensis

Summer and Winter Savory have been flavoring food for over 2,000 years. Summer Savory (Satureja hortensis) is an annual that flowers in late summer and seeds itself readily for next year’s harvest. I planted summer savory when we first moved in our house 19 years ago and haven’t had to re-seed since it seeds itself. I may have to move some plants that were seeded in the wrong place, but there are always plenty to choose from. They grow 12 to 18 inches tall and have a similar flavor to that of a combination of marjoram and thyme. Winter Savory (Satureja Montana) is a perennial and can be harvested fresh all winter from its 6 to 12 inch stems with a mild peppery flavor, but it needs to be replaced every two to three years depending on the winter temperatures and snow cover. They both like to grow in well drained soil in full sun. Winter savory likes a lighter soil where Summer savory can tolerate average soil.
In general the flavor of both savories lend themselves to fish, beef, veal, pork, wild game, poultry and stuffing, any beans and lentils, cabbage, eggs, herb butter, fish and added to mayonnaise to serve as an accompaniment to poached fish. I use savory in my “Thanks for the Grub Rub”, a nice all purpose rub.


1/2 cup lemon juice
1 Tablespoon savory, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 bay leaf
2 pounds fish, (white fish or salmon)

Heat ingredients to steaming and allow to cool. Put fish in a shallow pan and pour marinade over fish. Let it set in the refrigerator for several hours. Either broil in the oven or cook out on the grill.


4 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed and poked with a fork, wrapped in aluminum foil
1/2 cup sour cream
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 Tablespoon savory leaves, chopped
2 ounces grated cheddar cheese
Bake potatoes in a 425° F oven for 40 to 60 minutes, until tender. Let stand about 10 minutes. Unwrap potatoes and cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out pulp of each half and put it into a large bowl. Mash the pulp with a potato masher. Add sour cream, garlic, salt, pepper and beat until smooth. If necessary add 1 or 2 Tablespoons milk. Add savory and adjust salt and pepper. Spoon mashed potato mixture into potato shells. Place on a baking pan. Bake in 425° F for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and return to the oven for 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.


4 to 5 pound bone-in pot or chuck roast
3 garlic cloves, slivered
12 to 15 black peppercorns, cracked
4 savory sprigs
1 cup red wine, full flavored
4 medium potatoes – peeled and cut lengthwise into sixths
4 medium carrots – peeled and cut lengthwise into quarters
2 medium onions – peeled and quartered
3 Tablespoons chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Make small slits in the meat on both sides and insert the garlic slivers. Press the crushed peppercorns into the meat on both sides. Put the roast in an earthenware casserole or roasting pan with a tight-fitting lid.

Bruise two sprigs of savory and add them to the casserole. Pour the red wine over the meat. Marinate overnight in the refrigerator, turning the meat two or three times.

Remove the casserole form the refrigerator 2 hours before cooking. Preheat the oven to 300°. Salt the meat lightly and place the casserole in the oven. After an hour, turn the meat. Cook for 1 1/2 hours longer. Put the prepared vegetables on top of the roast, salt and pepper and baste them with the pan juices. Cover the pan and cook for 20 minutes.

Chop the leaves of the other two sprigs of savory. Sprinkle the vegetables with the chopped savory and 2 Tablespoons of the parsley. Cook, covered for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are just done.
Remove the roast to a board and let rest for about 5 minutes. Skim the fat from the casserole and reduce the pan juices over high heat for a minute or two. Slice the roast into serving pieces. Arrange the roast and vegetables on a serving platter. Spoon the pan juices over. Sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve hot.


1 1/2 pounds small green beans
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
2 medium shallots, diced
6 to 8 sprigs summer savory, rough-chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 small red bell pepper, about 6 ounces, seeded and sliced thin
1/4 cup imported oil-cured olives, pitted

Trim and clean the beans. Pan-steam them in lightly salted water until just tender. Refresh the beans with cold water and pat dry.

Mix the olive oil with the vinegar, the diced shallots, and the chopped savory. Salt and pepper the vinaigrette lightly.

Toss the beans, red pepper strips and olives with the vinaigrette. Marinate, covered, 3 to 4 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Bring the salad to cool room temperature before serving, or heat it gently for a few minutes, until it is warm. Adjust the seasoning with oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.