I love to cook and in my humble opinion, food tastes a whole lot better when cooked using fresh herbs, such as Rosemary, which I grow every year with great success. Last summer, I finally discovered using fresh sage! WOW! Turns out, what took me years to discover, has actually been used for thousands of years! (Where have I been?). Native to the Mediterranean, sage has been prized for medicinal reasons.
“Sage is in the top ten of herbs that have the most powerful antioxidant effect, neutralizing the cell damaging free radicals that are thought to be linked to the aging process” (100 Best Health Foods). Territorial Seed Company writes about Salvia officinalis (the common garden sage): “Sage with its lemony camphor fragrance and delicate blue flowers is an important part of many fine recipes, medicinal remedies, and landscapes.”
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I decided to grow sage after visiting a friend’s garden. She had planted three types of sage (all edible) and the colors and leaf textures were gorgeous. I remember watching pollinators foraging in the flowers and all around her garden so I decided to give it a try myself. Even though I wasn’t sure how to use fresh sage leaves in cooking, I was simply looking for adding texture, color and a pollinator plant to my garden. I bought plants at the nursery and planted seeds, which quickly sprouted. Then, along came a Lentil Soup Recipe (one of my all time favorite recipes) that uses sage, and I was hooked. It also makes an awesome baked potato topping (chop finely and sauté in butter) or sauté with veggies in scrambled eggs.
My sage plants were very hardy and I was still harvesting leaves late in November! Before winter storms did them in, I harvested the remaining leaves and stored them in a pyrex glass container in the fridge. I was amazed that the sage leaves stayed fresh for months, giving me numerous opportunities to explore using them in a variety of recipes! Yum!