Monday, October 15, 2007

A Lovely Item In The Garden

Another happy herb in my garden is Sage. This herb reminds me of fall and the upcoming holidays as it is the main herb I use in stuffing for my turkey. Although I use Sage all during the year, this is the season it really shines. It is such a beautiful herb with its fuzzy little, very aromatic, leaves. Talk about aroma therapy, every time I pass my sage plant I find myself gently rubbing the leaves and then taking in their wonderful smell. Ah, freshness!

Sage (Salvia) is a member of the mint family and has a long tradition of medicinal importance, besides culinary. The word Sage comes from the Latin word, salvere, which means to be saved and refers to its alleged curing properties. It was a medicinal cure-all, even thought to cure baldness! In medieval times, sage was thought to impart wisdom and to improve the memory. (I knew there was a reason I liked this herb so much!) The old English word sage, meaning a wise man, comes from this belief. Europeans believe that is helps digest rich foods, which might account for its association with duck and game recipes there. Superstition has it that when all is well, sage will flourish. If things are going badly, it will hang its foliage!

There are many varieties of sage such as pineapple, blue, golden and tricolor, but I grow just a common garden sage. It is a hardy perennial that grows to a height of about 24-30 inches. Leaves are grayish green and oval. They prefer full sun and very well drained soil. You do not want to over water these guys either. They are very drought tolerant once established. Sage is a great herb as it does not need alot of "fussing about".

As I said earlier, I mainly use mine to flavor my stuffing, but if you make your own sausage it is a key ingredient. Sage is also good in egg dishes, cooked veggies and fish. Actually something that is very good that goes with fish is frying the sage leaves like you would a fritter. The Italians add fresh or dried sage leaves into the frying pan when they fry chicken to give the chicken a savory flavor and that great flavor transfers into the gravy if you make it from the drippings. Powdered sage makes a great rub on fresh pork roast before baking. Just remember, to extract the full flavor of the sage leaves, crush or grind the leaves before using. Sage is a strong flavored herb fresh or dried, so use it with discretion. It is very easy to grow in a container on your deck or by any sunny window in your home!

Cheers from the garden!


Gloria said...

Deb I had heard that salvia is so nice for many thigs, but now I know more, I would like to have a plant, this is good time (Spring here)So nice articlexxxxGloria

katiez said...

I cannot grow sage here! It is so bizarre - I plant it, it does fine for awhile then, all of a sudden the leaves fold, dry up and it dies. I have a bed of just sage with 4 - 6 plants in it at a time. Usually only one healthy and big enough to harvest...And I love frustrating!

Valli said...

Our days of herbs in our pots are numbered with the cooler weather upon us. I wonder if sage would do well in a kitchen pot? Parsley seems to be only contender.

winedeb said...

Thanks Gloria! Great time for you to plant herbs!

Hi Katie, are they getting too much water? They like to dry out. Try one in a pot and see what it does!

Hey Valli, I remember those days when I lived up north. I did sage and basil one year in the house in a sunny window. They did OK, but not like being outdoors. But at least I did have a little bit of freshness in the kitchen!

Belinda said...

Hi Deb! The sage is so pretty...I love the slightly fuzzy leaves. I could certainly have used some of your lovely fresh sage in the chicken pot pies I made yesterday...I had to make do with poultry seasoning! lol I did, however, use some of the WINE! And, Deb, again, thank you so very much for that wonderful wine list you sent me...I just realized that you might not have seen the little note I left after your comment regarding the wines, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you taking the time to help me out. :-)