Savory is an underused herb that offers the amalgamation of thyme, rosemary and sage. Summer savory's smooth gray-green narrow leaves have a oregano and thyme-like fragrance and a warming flavor similar to a blend of thyme and marjoram. Winter savory's oblong linear leaves are darker in color, have a less refined flavor with deep peppery undertones. As true with most plants in the Mint family, the leaves are rich with strongly scented oils. They release a strong pine-like aroma. Both plants have woody branches that are similar to the structure of rosemary.
It has been used as a culinary herb for centuries, in both fresh and dried forms. It is often combined in herb blends such as poultry seasoning, bouquet garni and Herbs de Provence. It stands up especially well to rich meats that have been grilled, stewed or smoked, as well as grilled portabella mushrooms. Because of its essential oils, it is even used in the formulations of bitters and vermouth. Pair Savory with seafood, lamb, beef, poultry, potatoes, dried beans, lentils, tomatoes, garlic, and fresh cheeses (especially goat).
There are thirty types of savories but only two are used primarily for culinary purposes: summer and winter savory. Summer savory, Satureja hortensis, is an annual and preferred as a fresh herb, whereas winter savory, Satureja montana, is a less common perennial and best dedicated to slow-cooked dishes. The genus name is derived from a Roman half-man, half-goat deity known as a satyr. The plant's connection to love and nature was dedicated to this hedonistic creature that roamed the woodlands of Roman mythology.