Monday, 22 September 2008

Sage not just a Memory

I always remember sage grown in the garden from my childhood. The scent was overpowering and a great fascination took hold with all my own gardens now having to have the herb in place. It is always going to be fresher and infinitely cheaper than buying it from a supermarket.

The Common sage is also known as Garden sage, Kitchen Sage and Dalmatian sage is a perennial evergreen shrub type herb. It has woody stems, greyish green leaves with purple flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean region but its popularity has led it to be cultivated throughout many other regions, especially the Balkans where they distil the herb for its essential oil.

Sage has a mysterious side to it and is used for spiritual and supernatural purposes. Performing exorcism and the burning of sage is believed to drive out evil and demons. Sage is also used extensively in the practices of Witchcraft and associated cults.

With a slight peppery flavour, sage it is used for flavouring meats with a large fatty content including marinades. It is also used in cheeses and drinks. Sage is popular added to onion for poultry or pork stuffing and also in sauces. The French use sage for cooking white meat dishes and in vegetable soups with the Germans producing many sausage dishes. The most famous use of sage in sausages is the English Lincolnshire sausage. In the Balkan countries and the Middle East sage is commonly used when roasting lamb or mutton.

Fresh sage can be used to make sage butter and if you collect the young leaves you can make a sage vinegar. If you tie together some sage, thyme, parsley, marjoram and a bay leaf you have a Bouquet Garni.

Sage Vinegar Recipe

Ingredients

Sage leaves, (1 cup) washed and chopped royghly (about 3 good handfuls)
600 ml white wine vinegar

Method

Put the prepared sage into a sterilised jar and pour in the vinegar.
Put the cap on and leave to stand on a sunny windowsill for one month shaking once a day.
Using muslin, strain the sage vinegar into a sterilized bottle, add a fresh sprig of sage and seal.
You can now use this and store in you larder.

Sage Butter Recipe

For Sage butter simple heat the butter gently until soft and mix in thoroughly finely cut sage. Roll it up and wrap in clingfilm. It can be used for a topping on hot vegetables or simple spread on toast.

Sage actual means “to heal" coming from the old Latin text. Throughout history sage been thought to cure every ailment. Modern science now supports its effects as an antibiotic, anti-fungal and tonic. Sage is now found to aid moderate Alzheimer's disease.

For internal medical use its benefits range from indigestion, liver complaints, anxiety, depression, female sterility and menopausal problems as well as treating joint pain. Insect bites, throat, mouth, gum and skin infections are now also proved to benefit from the properties of sage.

Finally, a quote from a famous man who also seemingly had a passion and believe not only for human rights but for sage.

Why should a man die whilst sage grows in his garden? - Martin Luther King

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