70+ Seeds Perennial culinary herb garden collection (Salvia officinalis)
- Culinary and medicinal herb
Perennial growing to 45cm. Long velvet-like grey/green leaves that are used to flavour poultry, meat, pasta, soups and stews. Very aromatic. Also has medicinal uses. Attracts bees.
Sage is an herb that is closely associated with poultry dishes, but it is much more versatile. It is also one of the easiest perennial herbs to grow.
Culinary sage refers to a small group of the genus Salvia. These are evergreen perennial subshrubs with woolly, grayish leaves that add a musky, earthy freshness to foods. Spikes of purple/blue flowers appear in mid-summer.
For healthy plants, give your sage plants full sun. In hot zones, they can handle some afternoon shade, but they need some sun or a breeze to dry the dampness off the leaves and prevent rotting.
Most culinary sage varieties grow about 30 to 45cm tall by 60 to 90cm wide, especially when in flower. You will probably be snipping and harvesting, which will limit their size and cause the plants to sprawl rather than grow tall.
Sage plants bloom in mid-summer. They may bloom their first year, depending on size and site, but you are really growing the plants for the leaves.
Allow the plants to grow unharvested for the first year, so the plants can become established. After that, you can harvest leaves at any time, although they are considered at their best before or just after blooming. You can even brush snow aside and harvest in the winter.
Using and Cooking
Tender new sage leaves are more flavourful than older leaves on woody stems, so don't be afraid to harvest. Sage leaves are a popular poultry and meat seasoning. They can be used both fresh and dried, even fried. Sage also makes a nice tea.
Sage stores well as a dried herb. The flavour is more intense if you dry the whole leaves and crumble them as needed.
Besides seasoning, sage leaves and branches are often featured in crafts such as wreaths, where they add colour, texture, and scent.