Introduction and description
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Satureja is a genus of aromatic plants of the family Lamiaceae, related to Rosemary and Thyme. Both summer savory (Satureja hortensis) and winter savory (Satureja montana) are used to flavour food. The former is preferred by cooks but as an annual is only available in summer; winter savory is an evergreen perennial.
Savory is native to North Africa, southern and southeastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia. Several species are cultivated as culinary herbs and they have become established in the wild in a few places in which they are not a native plant.
Satureja species may be annual or perennial. They are low-growing herbs and subshrubs, reaching heights of 15–50 cm (5.9–19.7 in).
The leaves are 1–3 cm (0.39–1.18 in) long, with flowers forming in whorls on the stem, white to pale pink-violet.
Satureja species are food plants for the larva of some Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths). Caterpillars of the moth Coleophora bifrondella feed exclusively on winter savory (S. montana).
Savory may be grown purely for ornamental purposes; members of the genus need sun and well-drained soil.
Savory plays an important part in Bulgarian and Italian cuisine, particularly when cooking beans. It is also used to season the traditional Acadian stew known as fricot. Savory is also a key ingredient in sarmale, a stuffed cabbage dish in traditional Romanian cuisine. The modern spice mixture Herbes de Provence has savory as one of the principal ingredients.
In Azerbaijan, savory is often incorporated as a flavoring in black tea.
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