How to Cook with Sage

Sage Helps Digest Fatty Foods

Sage on a cutting board
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Sage is an herb plant that is native to the Mediterranean region. It has a sweet, yet savory flavor. Its most popular use these days is in stuffing for Thanksgiving turkey. Once prized for its medicinal value, sage can be used in many other dishes than turkey dressing. Read more about the history of sage.

Fresh Sage Selection and Storage

  • Fresh sage leaves should have no soft spots or dry edges.
  • Wrap them in paper towels and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to be used within four to five days.
  • Fresh also leaves can be covered in olive oil and stored in the refrigerator up to three weeks. Use the flavored oil for sautéeing.
  • To freeze fresh sage leaves, wash and pat dry, remove leaves from the stems, and pack loosely in freezer bags for up to one year. Be forewarned, freezing intensifies the flavor of the herb so proceed accordingly.

Dried Sage

  • Dried sage is preferred by most cooks and comes in whole leaf, rubbed, and ground form.
  • Rubbed sage has a light, velvety texture, whereas ground sage is more of a free-flowing powder.
  • As with all dried herbs, store them in closed containers in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. Use within six months for best flavor.

Sage Cooking Tips and Usage

  • Sage can easily overpower a dish. Use with a light hand when experimenting.
  • Sage works especially well with fatty meats such as sausage and lamb because it aids in the digestion. Sage is also very good in stuffings, beans, potatoes, and tomato sauces.
  • Complementary flavorings include onion, garlic, thyme, oregano, parsley, bay leaf, and rosemary.
  • If you must, you can substitute thyme or poultry seasoning (which contains some sage) for sage but the flavor won't be quite the same. Secondary options include substituting with marjoram, rosemary, and savory.
  • Thread fresh sage leaves in between meats and vegetables for shish kebabs.
  • Cooking mellows sage, so for fullest flavor, add it at the end of the cooking process.
  • Fresh sage has a milder flavor than dried.

Sage Substitutions

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped sage = 1 teaspoon dried
  • 1/2 ounce fresh leaves = 1/2 cup leaves
  • 10 thin fresh sage leaves = 3/4 teaspoon dried sage

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