New herbs for 2011

New herbs for the 2011 season.

We always try to grow a couple of new varieties each year and this year it is summer savory, (which we often get asked for) and calamint.

 

 

Summer savory (satureja hortensis) is an annual herb and very popular culinary herb in many parts of Europe. In Bulgaria it is added to dried and ground to salt and paparika and sprinkled over food, whilst in Romania it is popular in stuffed cabbage. Like winter and creeping savory , its sicy leaves are traditionally used with bean dishes, as well as turkey, duck, goose and pork. In France it is one of the traditional herbs of ‘Herbes de Provence’.

It is said to be effective when rubbed on bee stings and a good tea for diarrhoea, stomach upsets, flatulence (hence its popularity with beans) and helping clear congested lungs after a cold. Whilst winter savory is said to decrease sex drive, summer savory is thought to enhance it.

Calamint (calamintha nepeta) is closely related to the mint family, along with plants such as catnip and catmint. It is a perennial herb with strongly aromatic hairy leaves and beautiful tubular flowers that appear between July and September and attracts bees and insects. It grows to between twelve and eighteen inches and makes a compact bush in a sunny well drained spot in the garden.

During the middle ages it was cultivated as a medicinal herb to help reduce fevers, induce perspiration and help remove phlegm. It was also thought to help strengthen the stomach and ease colic. It also stimulates the uterus and is not recommended during pregnancy.

It can be used as a culinary herb and is popular in parts of Italy where it is used with game, mushrooms, courgettes, and tomatoes.