Winter savory is a perennial Mediterranean herb that was most likely introduced to Northern Europe by the Ancient Romans. Winter savory’s pungent, minty, and piney notes are more intense and peppery compared to those of summer savory, but it is still a valuable culinary herb. Outside of a few places in Europe, winter savory is a niche herb that you will have a hard time finding in its fresh form. Unless you grow winter savory yourself, you will most likely be using the dried herb. Below are some of the ways to use dried or fresh winter savory for the best flavor.
Table of Contents
- As a legume herb
- As a bouquet garni herb
- As a tea herb
- As a seasoning herb for meats
- As a vinegar herb
- As a salad dressing herb
- As a stuffing herb
- As a tomato sauce herb
- As a fish herb for oily fish
As a legume herb
Like its relative summer savory, winter savory complements beans. It is good with butter beans, great northern beans and even green beans. Not only does winter savory’s flavor enhance the beans’ taste, but it also has anti-flatulence benefits to aid digestion. Savory’s value as a bean seasoning is significant enough that Germans call it the bean herb. In addition to beans, winter savory works well with other legumes like peas and lentils.
As a bouquet garni herb
You can use winter savory in a bouquet garni as a substitute for summer savory but be sure to use it in moderation. Winter savory is a great partner for other typical bouquet garni herbs, but it won’t stay in the background unless used in small amounts with other very flavorful ingredients. A bouquet garni is a great tool for using winter savory since it makes it easy to remove the herb once enough of its flavor has been infused into the dish.
As a tea herb
Winter savory is a traditional tea herb. Along with being a pleasant and soothing winter drink, winter savory tea is believed to help with digestive problems including flatulence, indigestion, and diarrhea.
As a seasoning herb for meats
Winter savory has a reputation as the herb to pair with strong-tasting meats; venison and lamb are examples of strong-tasting meats that may benefit from it. If you have the fresh herb available, you can use it, but the dried and ground version works just as well.
As a vinegar herb
Like tarragon, winter savory is good for making herb-infused vinegar. Instead of using the herb itself in your dish, you may be able to tone down its pungency by using it to flavor vinegar and using that instead. You make winter savory vinegar by infusing the flavor of fresh winter savory into white wine vinegar.
As a salad dressing herb
Winter savory is a great addition to salad dressings, especially vinaigrettes. You can add the finely chopped fresh herb directly to a vinaigrette, or make the vinaigrette with winter savory vinegar.
As a stuffing herb
Winter savory is a great compliment for the herbs that you commonly see used in stuffing; it enhances the highly aromatic notes of celery, rosemary, and fennel.
As a tomato sauce herb
Because of how well it pairs with herbs that often show up in tomato sauce — like thyme and basil — winter savory can be a good tomato sauce herb. Its pungency and peppery bite go well with tomato sauce’s acidity and mild sweetness.
As a fish herb for oily fish
Oily fish tend to be particularly flavorful; you can use the extreme pungency of winter savory to help tame the fishiness. Use winter savory as one of the main herbs when cooking strong-flavored fish like eel and mackerel.