Garden Sage: The Wise and Wonderful Herb

Garden Sage: The Wise and Wonderful Herb

The old English word "sage" means a wise man, and this term comes from the belief that sage was thought to impart wisdom and improve one's memory. I can't vouch for my memory improving since planting sage, but I certainly feel wise for buying it that first summer I started growing herbs.

Sage needs fairly dry soil and full sun to thrive. Resist the urge to water it between rains; it simply does not need extra waterings. Sage does tend to become woody and will benefit from cutting back to 6 or 8 inches from the ground. I do this in the spring or early summer. It will grow back for another harvest. We are discussing the common Garden Sage or Salvia Officinalis. There are many variations of sage available and most of those are not as hardy. Feel free to substitute and experiment with other sages in the recipes provided.

Havesting and Preserving

Sage can be frozen, dried or used fresh. To freeze simply rinse and pat dry the whole leaves and place in resealable freezer bags. There is no need to thaw before using. For drying, hang the stalks upside down in a dry, dark place and crumble into jars when completely dry. I prefer fresh or frozen sage; the taste is quite a bit different than the dried.

Stuffing Herb Blend

is a stuffing blend using fresh herbs.
6 tablespoons sage
1 tablespoon thyme
3 tablespoons sweet marjoram
2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley

Combine together by chopping or mincing. Keep up to one week in the refrigerator. Use to season stuffing.

Roasted New Potatoes with Shallots and Sage
From Bon Appetit, November 1997

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage
4 pounds medium-size red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed, quartered
1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
16 shallots, peeled, halved lengthwise

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook butter and fresh sage in small saucepan over medium-heat until butter simmers and is well flavored with sage, about 4 minutes. Toss potatoes with dried sage and 2 tablespoons sage butter in bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer potatoes to 2 baking sheets. Bake 20 minutes. Toss shallots in same bowl with 1 tablespoon sage butter. Season with salt and pepper. Divide shallots between baking sheets. Roast until potatoes and shallots are tender and golden, turning occasionally, about 35 minutes longer. Transfer potatoes and shallots to large bowl. Add remaining sage butter; toss. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 8 Servings.

Herb and Shallot Butter

1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 small shallot, minced
4 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
2 teaspoon minced fresh sage

Stir together butter, shallot and herbs. Use this for fresh vegetables, a steak topping or for bread. Makes 1/2 cup butter.

Garden Herb Medley

2 tablespoons oil
2 medium zucchini
1 sweet red pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 yellow pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
4 sage leaves, cut into thin strips
1 garlic clove; minced
Pepper to taste

Cut all of the vegetable into julienne strips. In a large skillet heat oil, saute zucchini and peppers until tender stirring occasionally, with lid on for about 5-8 minutes. Add garlic and sage; continue to cook until crisp tender. Do not allow garlic to scorch. 4-6 servings.

Sage and Bean Pasta

8 ounces penne pasta
3/4 cups diced carrots
1 1/2 cups canned green beans, or fresh that have been cooked
2 tablespoon oil
2 tsp. minced garlic
3-4 sage leaves, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta as directed, adding carrots the last 5 minutes. Drain, and place in serving bowl to keep warm. Saute drained beans, garlic and sage in the olive oil. Cook until garlic is lightly colored and beans are hot. Add to pasta; season with salt and pepper and toss to mix. Makes 5 1/2 cups.

About the Author Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer, wife and mom to three living in the Midwest. She is also editor of, where you will find articles on gardening, herbs, crafts and other old fashioned topics.

About this Author