|Beautiful sage flowers in the spring...|
Harvesting? Remember, the upper leaves are the best. They are tender, insect-free, and the best tasting. And me having so many plants means I have a lot of sage tops to pick from. This also keeps the plants bushy and hardy.
This was early on in the harvest, I actually filled my dehydrator to the max with these beautiful leaves. No dehydrator? No problem. Bundle the sage with a rubber band and hang upside down in a dry warm place. Bothered by dust? Put them in a paper bag upside down, wrap the rubber band around the bottom of the stems and top of the paper bag and hang up to dry. You may want to poke a few air holes to help with ventilation. We live by a lake and it seems to be more humid in our house. So, I invested in a really nice dehydrator. Looking to save $$? Check out your Goodwill stores or yard sales, one of my first dehydrators came from there...$3! If it's warm in your area when you are drying herbs, then put them on a ventilated tray/screen and place in your car in the back window. Instant dry herbs. My friend did this and it worked out beautifully.
Sage leaves have a velvety, almost papery texture, so they dry well and turn a beautiful shade of gray. I like to store my sage leaves whole or as whole as possible. I just take out a few as needed and powder them in my hands before using...also known as "rubbed sage."
They are great in soups, chicken and dumplings, any chicken marinade or meal and I use them in my Italian seasoning blend. Overall, a great all purpose herb and one you'll find yourself running out of by winter's end. Store in an airtight container that is not transparent or I put mine in glass jars but store them in a locker of their own that keeps them quite out of the light. They have a long shelf life, one year is recommended, as long as they stay dry.. Try sage butter by sauteing (preferably fresh) leaves in some melted butter in a skillet, remove and pour butter over pasta and whatever else you would like to add. Our favorite use is in our endless pots of chicken noodle soup. Our guy's favorite soup, I make lots of pots and sage is central to the tasty broth.
Well, there ya go...Sage is saved and ready for winter! However, I will be gathering LOTS of fresh leaves while this weather stays mild. Maybe fresh sage for Thanksgiving this year...?!
What's your favorite way to use sage?
For more herb drying info, check out my post; Ode to Drying Oregano.
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