Sage provides both an attractive landscape plant and a culinary herb. More a small shrub than a bedding plant, sage has silver-green leaves and produces small, lavender flowers. Use the leaves either fresh or dried in a variety of recipes to add a aromatic, musky flavor. Harvesting the sage leaves properly ensures this perennial herb continues to thrive in the garden even after the bounty has been picked. Harvest sage as needed throughout the summer or save the leaves after pruning the plant.
Prune back the entire plant at midsummer when the sage stops flowering and again in early fall. Cut approximately 6 inches from the top of the sage plant using a pair of clean shears. Cut off each stem right above a leaf or leaf bud.
Strip the leaves from the pruned stems. Store in a sealed bag or container in the refrigerator for fresh use or in a dark pantry after they have dried.
Pick individual leaves for use between pruning. Pluck leaves from the outside of the plant or cut off entire stems at the base as needed. Young leaves often are more flavorful as these have a larger store of aromatic oils.