Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sage - Herb of the Week and Deal of the Day!

Sage is a wonderful herb.  I have posted an herb of the week on sage (2010) and a mini one in 2015, where I spoke about its growing habit and care.  This time I thought I would discuss some great ways to use sage in cooking and in health remedies.



Sage’s botanical name “Salvia” means “to feel well and healthy, health, heal.” It comes from the Latin “salus” meaning “health, well-being, prosperity or salvation”.  “Officinalis” means that this particular herb has had a recognized herbal or medicinal use for centuries.

Common names: Common sage, garden sage, golden sage, kitchen sage, and true sage. Cultivated varieties include purple, variegated, tri-color and red sage.
tri color sage
Cooking with Sage

Sage can be used to make sauces and pesto , as well as an ingredient in stuffing and meat rubs. I love to make a combination herb vinegar using sage that we then use in cooking.  I combine sage with lemon or regular thyme, lemon balm, peppercorns and a bit of mint to add sweetness. It is a savory combo that is great for salads and marinades. 

Add about 1 cup of these herbs fresh to 2 cups of vinegar, apple cider or plain white and let steep for at least two weeks.  Hubby loves it in his sauces. 



Image result for sage pesto photosSage Pesto
1/2 cup packed sage leaf
1/2 cup packed flat leaf parsley
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2/3 cup walnut pieces
3 cloves crushed garlic (or to taste)
salt
1/2 cup olive oil (or to desired consistency)

Directions:
Wash and thoroughly dry sage leaves and parsley in your salad spinner. Put in food processor with parmesan, walnuts, garlic, and salt. Process until a gritty but even consistency. Gradually add olive oil until pesto has reached desired consistency. Divide into 3 equal portions. Each portion will coat enough pasta for 4.

Medicinal Uses of Sage

Sage is a good choice for a natural remedy for colds and flu.  It is soothing to the mucus membranes, relieving sore throat, and coughs while easing feverish conditions.  It is also antimicrobial.  While oregano is often used as a strong antimicrobial for colds and viruses, sage can be used instead with the same actions. Sage being a natural anti fungal and anti-bacterial, so as such taking a bit of tea with sage in it is great when you are feeling a cold coming on.  I use sage in my Nerve Soothing and my Rose Blush teas.

One can also infuse sage into honey.  It is especially good to take a spoonful of sage honey when you have a sore throat or use it as sweetener in a cup of warm tea when you have a cold.

To make sage infused honey add 1 Tablespoon crumbled sage leaves to warmed honey and let steep for a day or two.  Warm the honey and strain out the sage and you will be left with a light earthy fragrance of sage and all its medicinal benefits.

Sage Oxymel
An oxymel is an ancient herbal preparation that combines vinegar, herbs, and honey.  “Oxy” means “acidic, sharp, keen, pointed” and “mel” means “honey.” Oxymels make bitter herbs easier to take, like the “spoon full of sugar that helps the medicine go down.”  It is considered a specific remedy for lung issues, for colds, and for sore throat. 
1 to 2 cups of fresh garden sage, chopped finely
1 to 1 ½ cups raw honey
2 to 2 ½ cups white balsamic vinegar or cider vinegar

Pick the sage herb from the garden.  Remove any damaged leaves and discard.  Allow the sage to wilt for a few hours to overnight.  When it is quite limp, chop the sage finely with a sharp knife, including all but the coarsest stems.  Set aside. 

Clean and sanitize a wide mouth quart jar.  Place the sage in the jar.  Pour 1 cup of honey over the sage.  Stir with a spoon to fully mix the sage leaves with the honey.  The jar should be about 1/3rd full with the herbs and honey.

Heat vinegar in a saucepan until it is just about 110F.  Don’t over heat.  Warming the vinegar allows it to mix more readily with the honey and herbs already in the jar.

Pour the vinegar over the herbs and honey. Stir to fully blend the ingredients.  The jar should be full.  Place a tight-fitting lid on the jar and set aside.  Remember to label and date the jar. 

Your sage oxymel is ready in two weeks.  But you can leave it for a month or two, allowing the flavors to meld further.  When you are ready, heat the jar slightly in warm water to make it free flowing.  Strain the herbs out of the oxymel, reserve the liquid.  This will keep at room temperature 6 months or refrigerated for up to a year.  If you notice any mold, discard it.  Both vinegar and honey are preservative.

TO USE: Serve it by the spoonful for sore throat, coughs, colds, fevers, indigestion, or upset.  Take as often as needed.  I like to mix a spoonful in a cup of hot water and sip it slowly for relief of sore throat and that under-the-weather feeling.

Deal of the Day -- Today is Single Herbs (especially sage) 
but you can get any of our single herbs, in other words not an herb blend but just one herb in a package for 10% off the regular price, with this coupon code: SINGLEHERB

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