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Arbor Gate's Picks
of the Month

Dwarf Winter Savory

December 8, 2016 Back to Picks >

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Instead of complaining about the heat, I’d like to invite you to look forward to cooler times by adding Dwarf Winter Savory to the edge of your garden. This much ignored creeping version of the great culinary classic, Winter Savory, will reward you many times over by cascading over the edge of the bed, blooming in late summer or early fall with tiny white flowers, and providing a wonderful flavor for your culinary efforts as well.

The creeping variety of Winter Savory has all the flavor attributes of its more upright cousin, which is best known as a seasoning for beans, but as its name implies, anything “savory” is appetizing to the taste or smell. There’s very little difference from the flavor of the annual Summer Savory, and the winter versions have the advantage of being perennial and evergreen.

Let’s talk about that word “winter.” Quite misleading in the case of this year-round plant. The name comes from the fact that many traditionally cold-weather dishes, stews and soups for example make very good use of the piquant and pungent flavor of the savory family. It is also widely used in meat and fish dishes – in fact, in the past it was dried, powdered, and mixed with grated breadcrumbs to coat meats and fish. Ancient writers even specified that is especially good with trout!

And speaking of family, the savory family, botanical name “satureja”, consists of about 30 species, with Satureja Montana the moniker of the Winter Savory in question. Dwarf Winter Savory is referred to botanically as Satureja Montana ‘Nana’.

Winter Savory is a great mixing herb. It blends well with different culinary oreganos, thymes, and basils. Add a pinch to Chicken Salad or blend with sage for your holiday stuffing. There are very few dishes that a little Winter Savory won’t make better.

And for planting right now, try the dwarf version to spill over the edge of a garden, or even a big clay pot. When it flowers, you’ll be glad you did! Then onward to the kitchen!

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