How to Harvest and Store Sage

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Sage arrived on America's shores with the first wave of English settlers, and the pungent herb has been a staple in yankee kitchens ever since.

Things You'll Need

  • Drying Screens Or Racks
  • Baskets
  • Garden Shears
  • Gardening Gloves
  • Olive (not Virgin) Oil
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Cookie Sheets
  • Ice Cube Trays
  • Plastic Containers
  • Plastic Storage Bags
  • Cookie sheets
  • Pinch off sage leaves, as needed.

  • Cut back the flower stems after the plants bloom to encourage more leaf production.

  • Stop harvesting in early fall so the plants can harden off for the winter.

  • Store fresh sage leaves in plastic bags in the refrigerator.

  • Retain maximum flavor by freezing sage. Either freeze entire branches on cookie sheets, then strip the leaves from the stems and put them back into the freezer in plastic containers; or mix finely chopped sage leaves with just enough olive oil or butter to bind them together, and freeze the mixture in ice cube trays.

  • Dry sage leaves on screens in a dry spot away from direct sun. Store dried sage leaves in an airtight jar.

Tips & Warnings

  • Harvest sage on a clear day after the dew has dried on the leaves but before the sun's heat can dissipate the essential oils that give the herb its flavor and aroma.
  • Frozen sage tastes much better than the dried form, but it appears limp and unattractive. Use it in stews, casseroles and other dishes when taste matters more than appearance.

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