Sage is an evergreen shrub with sturdy stems and soft, velvety leaves. It is native to the Mediterranean and has a long history of being used in both medicine and the culinary world. Sage has a very unique savory flavor that pairs well with almost any oil or fat, and is often used to complement dishes like pasta, braised dishes, and grilled or roasted meats. It has built a reputation as a holiday herb due to its use in stuffing and roast Thanksgiving turkeys, but it deserves a spot in your everyday herb repertoire.
Sage can be purchased fresh, rubbed, or dried. Fresh is ideal, rubbed is acceptable, and dried should be avoided as it has a very dull flavor.
Fresh sage leaves should be tender yet firm and have a strong aroma and no soft spots or dry edges.
Wrap in just damp paper towels and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. Use within 4 to 5 days.
To freeze sage leaves, first wash and pat dry. Then separate the leaves from the stems, and pack loosely in freezer bags.
Sage makes a great garden herb! Consider growing it if you use it often.
Try rubbing sage on your skin for use as a natural insect repeller.
Hanging dried sage leaves among woolen clothing deters moths.
Sage leaves can be burned to eliminate strong and unpleasant odors.
Try freezing sage in ice cubes to give lemonade a little zip.
Sage is delicious in cocktails, especially when combined with honey, gin, and citrus.
Sage complements dairy really well. Consider adding it to mac and cheese, cream sauces, or even tuck it inside a grilled cheese sandwich.
Cooking mellows sage, so for fullest flavor, add it at the end of the cooking process.
Thread sage leaves in between meats and vegetables on skewers for herbaceous kebabs.
Fry sage leaves before cooking to flavor your oil and create a simple garnish for pastas and salads.
Sage is high in antioxidants, which help protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals.
Sage contains salvigenin, which may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
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