Winter Savory is a hardy, slightly woody perennial that thrives in poor well drained soil. If you have found somewhere that Rosemary or other Mediterranean herbs like then Winter Savory will like it there too. It is a little bushy, woody herb and is very aromatic, with small delicate flowers in the summer. It’s leaves grow back on last years wooden stems so don’t cut it back. The leaves can be used fresh or dried so is a versatile little herb and it is hardy, it has survived the last 5 winters in my garden and is still thriving.
It is similar to Thyme in its uses but has an earthier pepper taste, possibly somewhere between Thyme, Bay and Sage. Some simple ways to use Winter Savory in the kitchen (this is predominantly a culinary herb):
1. Add to stuffings or marinades as it goes well with meat especially. It can loose its flavour during the cooking process so don’t be shy with the amount.
2. Add to white sauce, if using for fish then use less, but great in white sauce for lasagne or cannelloni.
3. Use the early summers leaves very frugally to flavour salad, I like it with a tomato and mozzarella salad with basil and balsamic.
4. It also goes well with traditional potato salad and beans. I make a summer salad of canellini beans, tomatoes and red onions and it works well with this.
5. Winter Savoury loves Beans and is also said to reduce flatulence so is a great addition to any beans based dish.
6. Good to use in stocks and stews, just make sure you separate the leaves from the woody stalks! Or you take out before serving.
Winter Savory has antiseptic and calmative qualities and can calm a bee or wasp sting if rubbed directly onto the sting. It is good for digestion and eases flatulence. It is also said to ease the progress of hair loss. If you did want to make a salve to ease hair loss then why not combine the slightly bruised leaves with some warmed coconut oil. When the oil solidifies at room temperature you will have an aromatic balm. Rosemary may also be added to this, as Rosemary is great for strengthening and conditioning hair.
In Roman times Winter Savory was linked to the Satyrs and was said to bring joy, mirth and prosperity to any feast.