Garden or common sage, is called an heirloom herb because it seems to grow just about anywhere and will last generations. At Natorp’s, we have not only the common sage, but also variegated, purple, Berggarten, and Dalmation.
This hardy perennial is a native of the Mediterranean so it likes lots of sun although it grows well in partial shade. It doesn’t require much moisture once established. The flowers are rich in nectar so sage is a good bee herb. Wait to shape and trim your sage back until after it blossoms.
Sage is good for the mind (thus the name) and in olden days, sage leaves were rubbed on teeth to clean them and keep gums healthy. I make sage and thyme tea when someone in the family has an upper respiratory illness.
The flavor of sage is strong, somewhat lemony, a bit bitter and astringent. It can be used as an ingredient in vermouth. Dried sage has a “softer” flavor. Sage is a key ingredient in poultry seasoning and sausages. Try placing sage leaves under the skin of chicken or turkey before you roast it. Sage is delicious with legumes and fresh root vegetables.
CARROTS WITH FRESH SAGE
A nice side dish to grilled meats.
2 teaspoons ea: butter and olive oil
2 cups sliced carrots
1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
Palmful fresh sage leaves, chopped
Melt butter and oil in skillet over medium heat. Add carrots and water. Partially cover pan and cook 10 minutes or until carrots are almost tender. Add salt and pepper to pan; increase to medium-high heat. Cook 4 minutes or until carrots are tender and lightly browned, stirring frequently. Sprinkle with sage.