September 05, 2007

Guest Post: Leah on Savory, the "Bean Herb"

Leah J. Utas, of The Goat's Lunch Pail, was one of the very first Cranky Fitness commenters ever, and is a frequent and much beloved contributor here. So Cranky Fitness pleased to bring you her guest post. She has actual practical information on a Very Helpful Herb you may not be acquainted with. And since Leah has graciously taken care of Content for the day, there may be another post later today just about Blog Things. Now... here's Leah.

Savory, like so many other herbs and spices doesn’t get a lot of press.

Savory is good. It’s a tasty addition to meat marinades and it’s easy to grow. But best of all, and possibly least known, is Satureja hortensis is the bean herb.

The humble bean is good for us. It’s cheap, versatile, healthy, easy to cook, and easy to store. However, beans have a rather unfortunate anti-social side effect that has kept them on the sidelines.

The good news is beans need only a little help from savory in order to get over this social awkwardness.

Savory is the bean herb because it aids us in digesting them.

Add it to the cooking water. I add it to the soaking water too, usually about a tablespoon of the dried herb to a cup of beans.

It works with navy beans, lima, kidney, and pinto alike that I have personally tested, and I’ve even used in the cooking water of black-eyed peas. It also works with canned beans.

A tablespoon may be more than needed, but I grow my own and have a lot of it.

I add about a teaspoon more to the cooking water. It’s an extra kick to the digestive system and I like the flavor.

If you’re not familiar with this herb it’s a good idea to chew a wee bit of it first to get to know it.

If you don’t like, maybe just use it in the soaking water. You can cover any lasting flavor with other spices later on.

Savory can be made into a tea to help with upset stomach and assorted intestinal disorders. John Lust in “The Herb Book” noted this includes “…cramps, nausea, indigestion, and lack of appetite.”

He adds that the tea is also used as a gargle for a sore throat.

To make a tea use two to four teaspoons per cup of water. Lust’s book doesn’t say how long to steep it, but the general rule for herb or spice teas is between five and 10 minutes.

Winter Savory (Satureja Montana) has the same properties as Summer Savory. I’ve grown both and they taste the same to me.

So why not give savory a try?


  1. Thanks for the sage info. I don't thik I've ever actually tried savory but I'm certain it will catch my eye in the fresh herbs section next thyme I'm shopping. And you're right, it doesn't get a lot of press.. I only have a garlic press.

  2. Hilary, I'm going to have to gingerly admonish you about peppering your comments with so many puns! Cayenne't you exhibit any self restraint?

    (I'm sure Leah will be amused when she gets here, thanks!)

  3. If I couldn't use puns, I might just chervil up and die, but now I've mustard up all that I could, so I'll end yours and Leah's saffron.

  4. Hilaryous!! (That's the best I can do at 7:52 am after the bus children have woken me up.)

    This looks great-- we used to grow herbs outside, but now I live in an apartment. Can you grow herbs indoors?

  5. I'm truly savorying all your puns, Hilary.

  6. Hey Sarah, I was posting when you were or I would have taken the liberty of answering your question right then and there.
    Yes, grow them in pots by the window or outside on the balcony in the warmer weather.
    Crabby, thanks for having me over to your blog.
    Guest posting is fun!

  7. hmm, you mean use something besides garlic? I'll have to give that some thought. :-)

    If a mother has to show her ID at the liquor store, is that card-a-mom?
    Too many puns may make me chervil up and die.
    If you're allergic to herbs, do you get chives?
    Did you know that Margaret is crazy? Yup, when that nut, Meg, comes over, she just takes up all my thyme....

  8. I was about to come down here and thank Leah for the useful info but now all I can muster (yes MUSTER, not MUSTARD, lol!) is a big fat eye roll.

  9. I'm with Katieo! I was going to thank Leah for the informative post, and now my brain's scampered off to go think up herb puns. Sheesh. :)

  10. Cool. I always wondered waht savory actually was...

  11. Crabby knows fun people!

    Back to Leah's helpful post. I truly am going to look for and buy some savory next time I'm out shopping. I tend to get stuck on the same old seasonings that I've always used.. mostly garlic, thyme and tarragon (make your own Gone With the Wind puns). Thanks for the nudge in a new direction.

    And Marijke, chai-five on that card-a-mom!

  12. I'm groaning so much at the puns, I think I may've made a missteak in reading the blog today...

    Hey-oooh! Ba-dum-KSSH!

    For reals, thanks for the info on savory! I hadn't even heard of the herb, and now I'm lookin' forward to using it with our next bean dish.

  13. Okay, I won't butt in too much as this is Leah's post, but you guys crack me up!

    And Jim, I didn't get your pun completely until I went to your blog. Are you sure you want to Stake your fine writing reputation on punny comments? Seems like you're Sticking your neck out quite a bit.

  14. Marijke - garlic and savory go well together. Loved the allergy/ chives pun.

    Katieo, Mary, Geosomin, Hilary, and Jim - you are welcome and I'm glad my post was informative.

    It's your place, Crabby, I just stopped in to mess up the furniture a bit.

  15. Sounds like savory and one of my husband's friends need to get acquainted! Perhaps then I dare invite him back for dinner.

  16. i have never tried savory. thats funny cause we have one of those spice racks that come with 20 or so spices. i will try to make something with it this week. thx for putting me on to it.

  17. Posts like this make me want to cook. Or well, if not cook, do foodie things, like um, eat! Yay!!


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