Everything You Wanted to Know About Summer Savory and Then Some©
by Arlene Wright-Correll
Home Farm Herbery
Summer Savory is better known than its cousin Winter Savory and it is an annual, but similar in use and flavor to the perennial winter savory. It is used more often than winter savory, as winter savory is thought to have a slightly bitterer flavor. Summer savory is preferred over winter savory for use in sausages because of the sweeter, more delicate aroma. A member of the mint family of herbs, summer savory originates in southern Europe and has been used in food preparation for over 2,000 years.
This herb grows to 12 to 24 inches in height and has lilac tubular flowers which bloom from July to September. When the plants are in flower, they may be pulled up and dried for winter use.
Summer Savory is raised from seeds, sown early in April, in shallow drills, 9 inches or a foot apart. Select a sunny situation and thin out the seedlings, when large enough, to 6 inches apart in the rows. It likes a rich, light soil.
At Home Farm Herbery the seeds are broadcast after the last frost and then they are thinned out with the thinned out seedlings being planted in another bed at 6 inches distance from each other and well watered. The seeds are very slow in germinating.
The early spring seedlings may be first topped for fresh use in June. Woody stems are removed from summer savory leaves, which are then dried and pulverized to create a dense, leafy green powder.
Summer savory plays an important role in Bulgarian cuisine (the herb is called chubritsa
, in Cyrllic ???????
, in Bulgarian), providing a strong and pungent flavor to the most simple and the most extravagant of dishes. On a Bulgarian kitchen or restaurant table you will find three condiments: salt, paprika and savory and when these are mixed it is called sharena sol or colorful salt.
Many people believe it is a helpful expectorant for lungs and head, a useful digestive aid for flatulence and colic, a general tonic and for the prevention of diarrhea. Rubbing a sprig of Summer Savory on a bee or wasp sting is said to give instant relief.
Summer Savory bespeaks flavor, and in fact, summer savory (Satureja hortensis) imparts a delicious taste to almost any dish the gourmet prepares. However, I recommend you test your summer savory's potency level before using it in your food, as the level of flavor tends to vary.
Though we do not use it as it was used in medieval times to enhance pies and cakes for a touch of spiciness; we do use it today primarily in soups, stews, and marinades, and with meats and vegetables. Germans refer to it as "the bean herb" because it is especially good with string beans, limas, navy beans, soybeans, all types of broad beans and it is used in many traditional Bavarian stewed bean recipes.
However, Summer Savory goes well with many other vegetables, such as cabbage, tomatoes, green peppers, asparagus, cauliflower, mixed greens, and rice. This versatile herb is also tasty in stuffing or dressing, sausages, and pork pie, and with chicken, fish, game meats, beef, lamb, and eggs and at Home Farm Herbery we like it in scrambled eggs, omelets, quiche and frittatas. When boiled with strong smelling foods like broccoli or sauerkraut, it helps prevent cooking odors and when it is steeped in vinegar or salad dressing, it lends an aromatic flavor. Summer savory can also be tossed into a salad or over vegetables and you will get a zesty, citrus flavor with every bite. It is a must when making gazpacho. People on low-sodium diets often find it an agreeable salt substitute.
In the days of the ancient Egyptians Summer Savory stirred the powdered herb into their love potions and they used it as a remedy for sore throats, dim vision, sciatica, palsy, intestinal disorders of various kinds, and the stings of wasps and bees. Nicholas Culpeper, the famous seventeenth century apothecary and author, valued it as a virtual cure-all and recommended that it always be kept on hand.
At our Home Farm Herbery on-line store we have noticed a considerable resurgence of the sale of not only our dried Summer Savory, but of our Heirloom Summer Savory seeds. You do not have to grow a big bed of it like we do as you can grow it in small pots as long as they have holes in the bottom and harvest the herb by snipping off the longest stems and then pinch off all the leaves.
Here is Home Farm Herbery’s famous Quiche Lorraine Recipe
1 recipe pie dough or a prepared frozen pie crust
1/2 pound of bacon (you can use more or less to your taste)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Black pepper to taste (we used about 1/2 teaspoon)
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup grated gruyere or other cheese (cheddar works too)
1 heaping tablespoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon dried Summer Savory or 2 heaping tsps. Freshly minced
If you are making your own pie crust, roll out the pie dough into a 12-inch round. Place it in a 10-inch wide, 1 1/2-inch high tart pan, pressing the dough into the corners. Use a rolling pin to roll over the surface of the tart pan to cleanly cut off the excess dough from the edges. Freeze for at least half an hour before blind-baking.
Pre-bake the frozen crust. Pre-baking is also called "blind" baking. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the frozen crust with heavy duty aluminum foil or with parchment paper. Allow for a couple inches to extend beyond the sides of the tart or pie pan. Fill two-thirds with dry beans or other pie weights or poke many holes in it using a fork tine. If you are using a pan with a removable bottom, place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet in the oven to catch any spillage. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and remove the pie weights (the easiest way to do this is to lift up the foil by the edges) and the foil. Using the tines of a fork, poke little holes all around the base of the crust. Return to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes, until lightly browned all over. Remove from oven and set aside.
Cook the bacon. Heat a large frying pan on medium heat. Arrange strips of bacon in a single layer on the bottom of the pan (you may need to work in batches or do two pans at once). Slowly cook the bacon, turning the strips over occasionally until they are nicely browned and much of the fat has rendered out. Lay the cooked strips of bacon on a paper towel to absorb the excess fat. Chop the cooked bacon crosswise into 1/4-inch to 1/2-inch pieces.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the nutmeg, salt, black pepper, Summer Savory and chives and whisk a little more. Add the milk and cream and whisk vigorously to incorporate and introduce a little air into the mix – this keeps the texture of the quiche light and fluffy.
Arrange the bacon and cheese in the bottom of the pie crust.
Whisk the egg-milk mixture hard again for a few seconds, then pour it gently into the pie crust. You want the bacon and cheese to be suspended in the mix, so you might need to gently stir it around just a little. You also want the chives, which will float, to be evenly arranged on top, so move them around with a spoon until you like where they are.
Put the quiche into the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. (If using pan with removable bottom, be sure to place a rimmed baking sheet underneath.) Check for doneness after 30 minutes by gently jiggling the quiche. It should still have just a little wiggle. (It will finish setting while it cools.) Cool on a wire rack.
Eat at room temperature, cold (a quiche will keep for several days in the fridge), or reheated gently in a 200-degree oven.
Yield: Serves 6.
May the Creative Force be with you
Home Farm Herbery
Posted by Arlene
@ 08:37 AM CDT