What Is Savory?

We're not here to discuss whether savory is a good name for a garden herb. It doesn't really taste savory — that's umami's job — because it's, that's right, a garden herb. It tastes astringent, grassy, slightly floral, spicy and herbal, not unlike marjoram or thyme. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, why's it called savory and how is it used?

Its formal name is summer savory, in peak season from July to mid-September. It's an ingredient in the French blend known as herbes de Provence (an awesome rub for grilled and roast meats) and a staple seasoning in Slavic cuisine. It really makes those cabbage rolls pop. You're more likely to find fresh savory at a farmers market than a supermarket, since, unlike some imposter produce, it's actually seasonal (hence the "summer") and when you find it, you should consider making fresh herb butter and melting it on a steak before you eat it.

Insider tip: bees absolutely love the flowers on top of savory plants, so prepare for some serious cross-pollination/abundance of fresh herbs.

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