Notes from Herb Heaven


Both winter and summer varieties of savory are peppery and spicy, although winter savory is an evergreen perennial and the summer variety is an annual. Summer and winter savory bears small white or blue flowers. The fragrance of savory attracts bees, and it is said that if you have the misfortune of being stung, savory leaves rubbed over the spot will relieve the pain. All savory likes full sun and a well-drained soil. Sow the summer variety in the spring and thin the seedlings to 45 cm apart. Cuttings of winter savory can be taken in late spring. They root easily in the open, in well-drained soil.

The little bushes of the winter savory make an attractive edging or border plant and grown near roses it will help to deter aphids, scale and mildew. Summer savory grows to about 50 cm and can tend to be a bit floppy. It has a lighter flavour than the winter variety. Both varieties like warm weather and can tolerate fairly dry conditions, although regular watering is recommended. Summer savory needs a regular application of soluble organic fertiliser every two to three weeks during spring and summer. Winter savory can be grown successfully in pots and containers and will survive living indoors on a sunny window-ledge. Pick the leaves regularly, it likes to be trimmed.

Tea made from the leaves of winter savory can relieve coughs and colds. Take a ¼ cup of leaves and steep with 1 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey. Savory also helps ease constipation and flatulence. Both varieties can be dried easily. Hang up bunches in a cool, airy space and when dry, crumble them into airtight containers. Savory freezes well. Store sprigs in plastic wrap for up to 6 months in the freezer. Summer savory goes very well with beans and other vegetables, while winter savory has a more piney taste and is a good accompaniment to patés and game meats.

Meat Loaf with Savory

450 g lean minced beef
200 g pork sausage meat
50 g fresh white breadcrumbs
1 onion grated
1 stem of celery chopped fine
1 Tbs chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped chives
2 tsp chopped savory
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten

 Mix all the ingredients together and mix 
in the beaten eggs. Put mixture in a 
well-greased 800 g loaf tin and cover with foil. 

Place the loaf tin in a roasting tin 
containing 2.5 cm of cold water 
and bake at 350°C for 1 ½ hours.

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