Grow Winter Savory Herb: Tips for Cultivating Satureja Montana
Winter savory (Satureja Montana), a delightful semi-evergreen perennial herb, adds a punch of strong and spicy flavor to your culinary creations. This robust herb typically reaches a height of 16 inches and spreads to about 8 inches in width, adorned with charming white and pink flowers that grace the garden from July through September. Originally hailing from the warm temperate regions of the Mediterranean, Southern Europe, and Russia, winter savory herb, a favorite among herb enthusiasts worldwide, is a must-grow herb for your kitchen.
Growing Winter Savory Herb: A Simple Guide
You don’t need a green thumb or a PHD in gardening to successfully cultivate the winter savory herb. This hardy herb thrives as a border plant in gardens and even flourishes in medium-sized containers. Whether you choose to grow it indoors or outdoors, here are some essential pointers and tips for nurturing your winter savory herb:
1. Winter Savory Herb: How to Grow Savory Indoors This Season
Season: If you’re planning to grow winter savory indoors, kickstart the process by sowing seeds two to six weeks before the last frost. For outdoor planting, sow the seeds immediately after the frost subsides.
Container: When cultivating savory indoors, ensure your pot or container is sufficiently wide and at least 6 inches deep to accommodate its growth.
Seeding: Spread the seeds evenly across the soil’s surface, lightly covering them with a thin layer of soil, with each seed spaced roughly 12 inches apart.
Soil Condition: Ensure that the soil is well-drained, and avoid overly rich soil, which can hinder the plant’s growth. Opt for a rich, well-drained alkaline soil mix.
Sunlight: Winter savory craves at least six hours of full sun daily, thriving in warm, dry conditions.
Watering: Although savory prefers drier conditions, keep the soil consistently moist during the first week after planting or until the flowers begin to bloom. A weekly watering routine should suffice once the plant is established.
Harvesting: Winter savory can be harvested in the summer, before flowering, during flowering, or any time throughout the growing season for culinary or medicinal purposes.
2. Drying Savory: For winter use, it’s recommended to dry your winter savory herb. After harvesting the leaves and stems, hang them in a well-ventilated, dry location away from direct sunlight.
3. Companion Planting: Enhance the growth of your winter savory herb by planting it alongside beans, sweet potatoes, and onions.
Medicinal Benefits of Winter Savory
Winter savory offers a potent flavor profile and medicinal properties similar to its cousin, summer savory, but with a more robust kick. Here are some ways in which it has been traditionally used:
- A tea made from dried or fresh winter savory leaves can help alleviate cold and flu symptoms, flatulence, and constipation.
- It has been used to address various ailments such as cystitis, digestive issues, diarrhea, gastro-enteritis, bronchial congestion, sore throat, nausea, and menstrual disorders.
- Topical ointments made from winter savory are applied to soothe arthritic joints and body pain.
- Its aromatic scent serves as a natural repellent against mosquitoes and pests, while also attracting beneficial pollinators like bees.
In traditional herbal medicine, it was believed that winter savory inhibited sexual desire, in contrast to summer savory, which was thought to stimulate it.
Culinary Delights with Winter Savory
In the culinary world, both summer and winter savory add depth and zest to a wide array of dishes, complementing meats and legumes with finesse. The sharp, peppery tang of winter savory makes it a delightful seasoning for mushrooms, pork, beef, poultry, as well as a popular addition to soups, salads, and creamy white sauces.
Side Effects and Precautions:
Both winter and summer savory are generally safe when used in small quantities. However, it is essential to exercise caution when considering larger quantities or medicinal applications. It’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, or taking other medications. While there is no definitive information about potential side effects, erring on the side of caution is always wise.