Information On The Herb Sage

There are more than 700 species of sage, many of them spectacular when in flower, and a number with leaves that are variously scented with pineapple, grapes, tangerine, grapefruit, anise, honey melon or fruit salad. The flowers attract butterflies and nectar-sipping birds. Common or garden sage is one of the best known culinary herbs. Clary sage is one of the most beautiful sages, forming a large rosette of broadly ovate, pebble textured leaves and sending up tall dense spikes of large pink flowers. The leaves add a muscatel flavour to a diverse range of of liqueurs, vermouth’s and wines. White sage is used by Native Americans as a flavouring. The golden chia is native to the south west of North America produces tiny oily seeds that are gluten free and very rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Pineapple sage has slender spikes of red flowers and pineapple scented leaves that are used to flavour drinks and garnish desserts. Apple sage forms fruit like semi transparent galls which are candied and eaten as delicacies.

Squodgy spinach gnocchi with sage butter - Extracted from Food For Your Brood by Sam Gates (Struik Lifestyle)
Squodgy spinach gnocchi with sage butter – Extracted from Food For Your Brood by Sam Gates (Struik Lifestyle)

Sage requires a sunny, well drained position. They are propagated from seed or by tip cuttings or division. For shrubby sage bushes you need to gently prune or pinch back after flowering. Harvest fresh leaves and flowers for culinary use at any time. Dry individual leaves and sprigs before flowering by spreading them out in a well aired place then store in airtight containers.

Common sage is the one most often used for cooking. The aroma is pungent, while the flavour, which intensifies on drying, is savoury, with camphorous overtones. Sage goes with starchy, rich and fatty foods such as duck, with poultry and pork, as a stuffing, red meats, beans, eggplant, tomato based sauces, casseroles and soups. You will find sage in commercially prepared stuffing mixes as well as in Italian dried mixed herbs. You can also deep fry the leaves as a garnish. Best used with a light hand in long cooked dishes, sage is popular in Italy. In the Middle East it is used in salads and sage tea is popular in many European countries. In Dalmatia the flowers are used to make honey.

information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs

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26 thoughts on “Information On The Herb Sage

  1. One of my very favourite herbs. Very difficult to grow in our climate so I can’t stop picking it when in the UK.

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    1. I can’t imagine you can grow much over there Sally 🙂

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  2. interesting info as usual

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    1. thank you Usha 🙂

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  3. I always learn so much when I visit you, Tandy! You’re really so knowledgeable about so many areas. I love sage and hope to grow more in my garden this year! xx Smidge

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    1. *blush* thank you so much for the compliment Barbara – I love sharing 🙂

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  4. I really do enjoy sage but for some reason, don’t include it in many dishes – and it grows well here. Hmmm. Sounds like a challenge. Tandy, a couple of blogging questions for you- I have an issue with your commentluv that I don’t encounter on other sites.
    It says: A feed could not be found at http://agrigirl.com/. A feed with an invalid mime type may fall victim to this error, or SimplePie was unable to auto-discover it.. Use force_feed() if you are certain this URL is a real feed. Do you know why?
    Also, what reader are you using now? I’m trying to find the best way to view blogs.

    Thanks! feel free to modify this comment.

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    1. Thank you Tammy for bringing the commentluv problem to my attention. I was wondering why no posts were showing. I will work on it during the week when I have time and let you know so you can tell me if its fixed. I am busy moving my herbs into pots and putting them in the courtyard by my kitchens so that I actually make use of them. As for the reader – I use feed wheel on my tablet. So far I’ve found it to be amazing 🙂

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  5. Such a great herb!

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    1. It is!

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  6. My favourite? Purple sage. Decorative and tasty at the same time!

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    1. I shall look out for it Kate 🙂

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  7. Mmmm sage is such a delicious herb and flavouring 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    CCU sharing the blog ♥ Comment on Dear Popeye… by annesturetuckerMy Profile

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    1. Well described Uru 🙂

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  8. I love sage and it is one of the very hardy herbs that survives the harsh winters at our cottage in Maine.

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    1. That is always good to know Karen 🙂

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  9. I adore sage and herbs! I am in the process of purchasing more. Your blog is inspiring! I was referred from Blue Jelly Beans and am glad I was 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much for the compliment, I love meeting new bloggers. I’ve just added you to my RSS feed. Have a super weekend 🙂

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  10. I love the smell and taste of sage.

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    1. I do as well, but I so seldom use it 🙂

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  11. Adore sage and it grows really well in Spain. Often use it as mentioned above as a garnish or even as “crisps” deep fried quickly and salted. mmm!

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    1. I love the idea of them deep fried!

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  12. I love sage, especially fried till crispy and used as a garnish. I just wish it was easier to come buy in the supermarkets here.

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    1. I only ever see it at Woolies! I am going to pot some as soon as the nursery has it in stock 🙂

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  13. It keeps going all winter, somehow. I always have good sage in the garden but never use it enough. I think it goes so well with meaty dishes and, as we hardly ever eat meat, the reason for that is clear:)
    Roger Stowell sharing the blog ♥ Comment on Chicken bricks and knighthood… by Food,Photography & FranceMy Profile

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    1. I need to go and buy a new plant as mine died this past December 🙂

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