Savory is an herb rich in tradition and legend, but is best known for its ability to enhance the flavor of food. Since the time of the Saxons it has come to denote not only the herb itself, but is synonymous with tasty and flavorful foods. The two savories were among the strongest cooking herbs available to Europeans until world exploration and trade brought tropical spices like black pepper.
Summer savory has a peppery taste, much like thyme, while winter savory has a piney taste. Savory blends well with many other herbs, and is an ingredient in the French blend herbes de Provence. It is added to teas, herbed butters and flavored vinegars, and complements soups, stews, vegetables, lentils, fish and game.
The Old English word “saverey” was derived from the Latin “satureia,” which, roughly translated, means “satyr’s herb.” Savory has been associated with love potions for centuries and the famous French herbalist Maurice Messegue suggested savory rather than ginseng to help couples restore happiness in the bedroom. Active ingredients in savory include carvacrol, which inhibits the growth of bacteria.