Common Name: Sage
Botanical Name: Salvia officinalis
Place of origin: Sage is originally native to the Mediterranean, and through the Middle Ages it made its way across Europe becoming a popular herb for monks to grow in monasteries.
Ideal growing conditions: Sage grows best in full sun with well-drained soil. Space plants two feet apart, or if you are starting with seeds start in containers inside two weeks before the last frost day, and then transfer the plants outside. Sage is a hearty perennial that will tolerate both hot and mild temperatures, just remember to water it frequently.
Parts of the Plant to use: To harvest sage, pluck leaves off of the plant or cut small sprigs. During its first year, only harvest sparingly to ensure the plant has enough leaves to grow completely. In following years, you can harvest sage 2-3 times a season during the summer.
Benefits/Properties: While sage is most well-known for the flavor it brings to culinary dishes, throughout history many have used it for its medicinal benefits. Sage has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and contains Vitamin K which promotes bone health and good circulation. Used in many skin care products because of the camphor it contains, sage is said to help reduce signs of aging and sun damage. Sage is also used in many oral health products like mouthwash to heal any sores or cuts and kill bacteria.
Culinary: Sage is found in many Mediterranean recipes, but arguably one of the easiest ways to highlight this herb is by making sage brown butter sauce. This versatile yet simple recipe can be tossed with any pasta or ravioli, as well as vegetables. To make sage brown butter sauce, melt 4 tablespoons of butter into a pan over low heat. When the butter melts and begins to bubble, add 1 clove of chopped garlic, and stir for one minute. Add ¼ cup of chopped fresh sage and continue stirring for an additional minute or two until the butter has turned brown. Toss your favorite pasta or ravioli in this sauce and garnish with additional fresh sage.
Medicinal: One of the easiest ways to utilize the benefits of sage is by making sage and honey syrup. This tasty syrup can be either taken medicinally, or can be stirred into tea or hot lemon water. To make it, pack 1 cup of cleaned fresh sage leaves into a jar. Next, pour 1 cup of honey over the leaves and allow the honey to seep to the bottom around the leaves. Then, stir the leaves and money and seal the jar. Once a day for the next week, stir the mixture, and by the end of the week it should be ready. This syrup works well at combating sore thoughts or coughs.