By Gael (Plot 234)
There are two main savouries used as a culinary herb, Summer and Winter Savoury (Satureja Montana from the family Lamiaceae) of which we will deal with the latter. The Summer savoury is an annual while Winter savoury is a perennial. It is an easy herb to grow, taking the form of a small bush reaching about 30 cm. It is covered in Summer with small white or blue flowers which are attractive to bees and was often grown close to beehives. It can be used as an attractive edging for the garden.
Savoury has been used for hundreds of years and is a strongly aromatic plant with a peppery taste reminiscent of common thyme. Known sometimes as the bean herb as it compliments beans beautifully. Also delicious with soups, slow braised stews, chicken, fish, mushrooms, white sauces, bouquet garni and potato salad. It has a strong volatile oil which is reputed to aid digestion hence it’s use with foods such as beans.
Winter Savoury requires a reasonably rich soil without fresh manure or compost. It likes at least 6 hours of sun per day and can be grown from cuttings, root divisions or seed. (See Gael’s Plot 234 if you would like some.)
A Bouquet Garni is a small bunch of fresh herbs tied together and added to various dishes to add flavour. Used mainly in stocks and stews it gives a complex and subtle flavour and can be varied according to which herbs you have at hand.
- parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, winter savoury, bay leaves. (Traditional Mediterranean dishes.)
- lemon thyme, basil, winter savoury, kafir lime leaves, bay leaves. (Asian dishes and fish.)
- oregano, winter savoury, bay leaves, thyme, parsley. (Italian dishes and soups.)
Experiment and work out your favourite flavours.