Garden Sage is a fast-growing perennial herb with beautiful blooms and a wonderful aroma. Once it is full grown it is very drought resistant although you should keep it hydrated to be sure to have a sure supply for many years.

If you pinch out the flower buds the leaves will keep forming, but the blooms are so beautiful you may not want to. If the plants flower, cut the plants back to beneath where the flower buds formed, after the blossoms have faded. Don't cut back to woody stems that have no leaves; those most likely won't sprout again.

Sage plants typically will produce an abundance of leaves for about 3-4 years, after which they will become woody and produce less leaves. Every few years you should plant new sage.

Sage is a popular culinary herb, is used for cosmetics, perfumes, and soaps. Deters moths, is sometimes rubbed on the skin as an insect repellent, and used as an incense to remove unpleasant odors.

Harvest Tips
Pick sage regularly throughout the season by picking off individual leaves from the top 6 – 8 inches of the plant. Wash the leaves and stems and then dry thoroughly. You could bundle them and then hang to dry or place on screens.

Keep an eye on drying stems to make sure they have enough air and do not go moldy. When leaves are fully dry, crumble them and store in airtight containers. Flavor will keep 3-4 months. Note that drying intensifies the flavor; use dried sage sparingly.

Sage is a traditional poultry and stuffing staple, and is used to rub meats before grilling, or add to cheese and egg dishes. On the whole use dried sage sparingly in cooking; too much yields a musty flavor. Freeze some ground sage into ice cubes to give summer beverages a little zip or use blended sage in butter or soft cheeses for a nice spicy spread.

I use sage as I would lavender for wonderful scents in sachet bags, in pots and with my clothes.

45 more Uses for Sage-

Sage pairings

– Sage + eggs (i.e. in an omelette)
– Sage + chicken (i.e. roast chicken with sage and lemon inside the cavity)
– Sage + lamb (i.e. in lamb burger patties)
– Sage + fried liver + croutons
– Sage + polenta
– Sage + onion (i.e. in stuffing)
– Sage + white beans (i.e. in white bean hummous or an open sandwich)
– Sage + apple
– Sage + pineapple
– Sage + roasted peanuts

Sage uses-

– Sage butter on gnocchi
– Sage butter on ravioli, especially pumpkin ravioli
– Sage butter on trout
– Sage olive oil with pasta and parmesan
– Put some leaves into pesto with other herbs
– Add sage to duck sausage
– Add sage to bean dishes
– Infuse honey with sage
– Use with parsley, rosemary and thyme in chicken risotti and soups
– Add along with fresh parsley, basil, thyme, and rosemary to tomato sauces
– Deep-fry the leaves and serve as an appetizer, or use as a garnish for poultry, meat dishes, or pasta

Recipe ideas:

– Sandwich an anchovy between two leaves, batter and fry for great antipasto
– Feta, prosciutto and sage involtini
– Sage on asparagus with shaved pecorino
– Lay two sage leaves over a long slice of sweet potato and wrap with a slice of prosciutto. Roast for 20 minutes or so with some olive oil (credit to Mark Bittman)
– Italian bread and cabbage soup with sage butter
– Roast butternut squash on a thick bed of it
– Sage and goats’ cheese gnocchi
– Sweet potato gnocchi with chestnuts and fried sage
– Put leaves on fish, wrap in prosciutto and sear in clarified butter and olive oil; finish in the oven
– Take half a chicken breast, place 2 or 3 sage leaves on top, wrap in Parma ham, pack in foil, bake at 180°C (360°F). Open top side of package, pour in some dry white wine, and leave open in oven for 20 more minutes or until done
– Wrap a flattened chicken thigh in prosciutto with a leaf of sage and pan-cook
– Pan-fry chicken breasts, add sage, red onion, lemon & crème fraîche
– Sauté chicken livers with shallots and sage, season, then add a little cream. Toss through pappardelle
– Sauté lamb chops with a sage leaf on each side
– Saltimboca (veal, sage and prosciutto)
– Pork, sage and apple burgers
– Mold around a piece of pork sausage (out of casing), batter and fry
– Sage and cheddar biscuits or pumpkin sage biscuits
– Sage ice cream
– Sage panna cotta

Other uses:

– Freeze in ice cubes for summer drinks
– Go native and use the dry sage leftovers to purify your kitchen from evil spirits (see smudge sticks)
– Sage tea is a great remedy for sore throat
– Sage plants give the most beautiful blooms!

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