Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

savory herbs of the genus Satureja, in the mint family, indigenous to S. Europe and the Mediterranean region. Summer savory (S. hortensis) and winter savory (S. montana) are the best-known species.

Classical Greeks, who knew it as thymbra, and Romans both made much use of savory in medicine and cookery. The several species known in Greece, including S. thymbra, were recognized by Roman writers on farming as being distinct from the Italian kind, which they called cunila or, colloquially, satureia; it is this that we now know as summer savory. It was used as a condiment and to flavour pickles and sauces. Virgil recommended it, along with thyme, for planting near beehives.