All About Sage:
Sage, or salvia to some, is an herb that’s actually part of the mint family (who knew??). It’s a plant that is native to the Mediterranean but grows in most places as a perennial (if it’s in your garden, DO NOT pull it out (it will grow back). It’s grey-green leaves are kinda pungent, a bit ‘fuzzy’ (think peach fuzz). If you have it in your garden, all of the bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are all thanking you right now!
Many cultures use it for a multitude of things other than cooking. The indigenous people use it for ‘smudging’ and the Chinese became enamoured with it when the French began making tea with it. The Romans used it for healing properties (digestion, to aid in wound care, for help with inflammation) and today, when it is brewed in water, it’s known as ‘thinkers tea’, claiming memory-boosting benefits! And it also contains vitamin K which is difficult to find in many foods.
What Goes Well with Sage:
- pork and apples
- sweet potatoes/squash
- cannellini beans
It is quite a unique flavour that lends itself to many foods. So many of these are autumn flavours, which is great for us living in climates where it get’s cold in the winter…leave some sage in the ground as it can withstand frost better than many other delicate herbs.
Recipes with Sage:
There are so many things that we can make with sage! And the first thought that probably enters your mind is stuffing, so here is a great recipe that incorporates that:
Bacon Wrapped Cranberry and Apple Stuffed Turkey Breast Roll
The recipe that started all the fuss about sage this year:
Fried Anchovy Filled Sage Sandwiches
If it’s drinks you’re after, you can use sage to ‘level up’ your next cocktail…especially if it has gin (I really feel like those two flavors go well together)! If you don’t want to throw caution to the wind, try this recipe over at Epicurious:
The woodsy taste of sage always comes out in the popular Roman dish Veal Saltimbocca (you can find the recipe over at Saveur)…easy to prepare, it’s a winner on every table!
In the spring I made this chive flower salt…why not try your hand at sage salt? All the deets are in this post:
…just remember you have to find a spot that is dry so it will dry out! Any moisture in herb salt will ruin the consistency!
Why not freeze your sage? But not whole! Rather, put it in ice cube trays and fill with olive oil. When you defrost it, the sage will be ready to use like fresh (better yet, with sage, most recipe call for butter, so why not used melted butter in stead of oil? So smart!!).
If you want all the deets, click here for more!
And, lastly, we talked about smudging at the beginning of this post (Indigenous peoples burning sage sticks to cleanse negative energy and inject healing into common/shared spaces). I bundled some of my sage last year and I light it, blow it out and wave it around my kitchen when I cook something with a smell I don’t particularly care for (hello cabbage!). I don’t pretend to be a ‘healer’ so I’m not really ‘smudging’ (plus I read that smudging done by anyone who is not indigenous is cultural appropriation)…I’m just using it as free air freshener – be warned though…my hubby cam home and thought I was smoking marijuana (kinda smells like that!).
So, there’s a starting point for y’all.
I don’t want to see another piece of sage go in your compost pile….