Sage is available in fresh or dried leaves whole, crumbled (rubbed) or ground. Fresh sage can be refrigerated for about a week, while dried should be kept in an airtight container and stored in a cool dry place.
Sage is an herb from an evergreen shrub in the mint family. Fresh sage sprigs have long, narrow grayish green leaves and, although it is a member of the mint family, it has a musty yet smoky aroma.
Sage enhances pork, lamb, meats, and sausages. Chopped leaves flavor salads, pickles, and cheese. Crumble leaves for full fragrance. Use ground Sage sparingly as foods absorb its flavor more quickly.
Sage is a wonderful flavor enhancement for seafood, vegetables, stuffing, and savory breads. Rub sage, cracked pepper, and garlic into pork tenderloin or chops before cooking.
Cultivation of Sage
Site: Sage likes full sun with a light, dry, alkaline, well drained soil.
Propagation: Common sage can be easily started from seed. All forms take easily from cuttings, rooting time is about four weeks in summer.
Growing: Plant 18 to 24 inches apart. Prune frequently to attain bushy plants. If leaves begin to yellow, roots need more space. Sage can be grown indoors if you have enough sun. Lightly prune plant back after flowering in June. Common sage is a semi-hardy perennial that grows to 2 feet high, depending on variety. Other varieties include broad leaf, clary, and pineapple sage.
Harvesting: During the growing season, singular leaves can be picked straight from the plant after it has reached eight inches.
Culinary Uses: Sage has a very strong flavor. Its main role is to accompany onions in the traditional stuffing for poultry. It is also a wonderful accompaniment to veal and pork and goes well with sausage, kebabs and some bean and tomato dishes. Be careful not to use too much. It can be overpowering.