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Summer savory is an annual herb that can be used fresh or dried year-round. Similar to thyme and oregano, summer savory tastes lightly peppery. It is often used as an ingredient in the bouquet garni, an herb blend used to flavor stocks, or zaatar, a Middle Eastern spice blend. Summer savory is often used to flavor bean dishes, vegetables or eggs and is sometimes substituted for sage. It is also traditionally used in Bulgarian dishes alongside paprika and salt, and in Romanian and Greek cuisines. Summer savory grows readily in an herb garden and can be used fresh, though you'll want to dry most of your crop.
Determine when the plants are just about to flower. This is the best time to harvest, as the leaves contain the greatest amount of oil. The oil translates into aroma and flavor, though savory can certainly be harvested before or after flowering.
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Using kitchen shears, cut large branches of summer savory from mature plants and shake the branches to remove any debris or bugs. It's best to cut herbs in the early morning or early evenings and avoid the heat of midday.
Remove any dead or damages leaves from the herbs. Wash the picked-over branches in cold water.
Lay the branches on paper towels and dry thoroughly. If the herb branches remain wet, they could mold, ruining your dried savory supply.
Tie the herbs together using dental floss or string, including four or five stems in each bundle. Tie them together at the stem end, where the oldest leaves are.
Wrap a paper bag loosely around the herbs to block out light, which will cause the flavor of the herbs to diminish. Poke several ventilation holes in the paper bag to allow the herbs to dry.
Using the tail end of the dental floss or string, hang the bundle of herbs and attached paper bag upside down to dry. Check the herbs after 1 to 2 weeks and remove when fully dried.
Hang the herbs to dry from a nail, chandelier, kitchen basket or even a coat hanger.
For best storage, strip the dried leaves off the branches. Crush the leaves or store them whole in plastic bags or glass jars. Discard the stems as they can impart a bitter taste to your cooking.
Discard any molded savory and do not use any branches that have come into contact with mold.