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Thursday, September 17, 2015

Sage

Sage:

About:

Sage (Salvia officinalis) is a small evergreen sub shrub of the mint family used as a culinary herb and also medicinally.  It is native to the Mediterranean.  There are over  500 varieties of sage, most are medicinally useful.  Sage leaves are grayish green in color with a silvery bloom color.  Sage has a savory slightly peppery flavor.  It appears in many European cuisines notably Italian, Balkan and Middle Eastern.  In Britain sage has been listed as one of the essential herbs along with parsley and thyme.   In 2001 sage was named "Herb of the Year" by the International Herb Association.

History:

The Greeks and Romans  were said to have highly prized the many healing properties of sage.  The Romans treated sage as sacred and created a special ceremony for gathering it.   Arab physicians in the 10th century believed that sage promoted immortality.  Europeans of the 14th century used sage to protect themselves from witchcraft.  In China in the 17th century sage was prized for the delicious tea that it makes.  Chinese were said to trade 3 cases of tea leaves for 1 case of sage leaves.


Uses:

Culinary:

Sage is traditionally used to flavor meats, poultry, and cheese dishes.  New potatoes are also excellent roasted with a handful of fresh sage leaves,  a little garlic and olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. 

Medicinal:

Analgesic,  Antibacterial,  Anti-cancer,  Anti fungal,  Antioxidant, Aromatic,  Astringent, Depurative,  Emmenagogue,  Nervine.

Season:

Sage is available year round. grown outside or in hothouses.  Sage is sold fresh, dried whole, or powdered

Selecting and Storing:

Sage is usually sold cut in bunches.  Look for fresh unwilted leaves that are on the green side, the older the leaf, the grayer it looks and the more likely it is to be bitter.  
Sage will keep a day or two if it is kept dry in an open plastic bag.

Quick Serving Ideas for Sage:

  • Mix cooked navy beans with olive oil , sage, and garlic and serve on bruschetta
  • Use sage as a seasoning for tomato sauce
  • Add fresh sage to omelets and frittatas
  • Sprinkle sage on top of pizza
  • Combine sage leaves with bell peppers, cucumber and sweet onions with plain yogurt as a salad

So..... Eat up!  Enjoy!  I'll show you how.

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