Summer Savory

Summer savory is an herb that is underutilized today, at least in America. This herb was used extensively by the Romans, primarily in vinegars and sauces. It was also very popular in Shakespeare's day (mentioned in The Winter's Tale). Virgil considered it one of the most fragrant herbs, and it was commonly planted around bee-hives to obtain a tasty honey.

Summer savory was one of the herbs English settlers brought with them to America to remind them of home, but for some reason it never gained that much popularity here. Still, you will run across it at better nurseries and grocery stores. It's also easy to grow from seed.

I suppose you European readers and can find it more easily. If so, please email me and share your recipes and thoughts.

Although there are many varieties of savory, the only ones you're likely to find are summer (annual) and winter (perennial) savory. The summer variety is a little less pungent and is sometimes described as similar to thyme or marjoram, but has historically been used much like we use mint or parsley. I guess you'll just have to taste it for yourself and see what you think!

Summer savory is mentioned in one of my favorite herbal books, The Modern Herbal (©1931), by Mrs. M. Grieve:  

"Savory has aromatic and carminative properties, and though chiefly used as a culinary herb, it may be added to medicines for its aromatic and warming qualities. It was formerly deemed a sovereign remedy for the colic and a cure for flatulence, on this account, and was also considered a good expectorant.  

Culpepper tells us that:

'It expels tough phlegm from the chest and lungs.' 

Both the old authorities and modern gardeners agree that a sprig of either of the Savorys rubbed on wasp and bee stings gives instant relief."

So, pick up some summer savory before it's too late (the summer is almost over), and try the recipe below. Keep some handy if you have a wasp nest you're planning to remove!




1 lb. green beans

cooked red potatoes, sliced, about 2 cups

2 T. olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 T. fresh, finely chopped summer savory 

2 T. organic butter

1-2 T. apple cider or balsamic vinegar 

1 T. Bragg's or Coconut Secret Amino Acids (optional)

sea salt and pepper to taste  


Sauté onion in oil then add green beans and a small amount of water. Toss to coat with oil, then cover and steam until crisp-tender. Make sure the water has cooked off and add potatoes, herbs, and butter. Stir to heat through. Toss with vinegar and amino acids right before serving. Season to taste. 

(If you can't locate summer savory, use marjoram or thyme instead.)

© Bobbi Mullins 2011, All rights reserved. FOOD FITNESS FAITH™