Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What to do with sage.

Our church hosts a monthly produce exchange, where the community is invited to come and give excess fruits, veggies, herbs (and I've even seen books) and take what they wish. You can even come and just be a taker, no one minds, and even with all of the takers there are plenty of leftovers.

In fact, the produce exchange is such a wonderful event that I'll even abandon all of my former obsessions with privacy and tell you that the produce exchange meets the first Saturday of every month at the big, pink Methodist Church (hosted by Mountainside Communion Church, which meets there) on Palm Ave. So if you're local (or if you're not), don't say no one told you.

ANYWAY! All that's to say that I missed this Saturday's produce exchange because I had to work, but on Sunday morning there were all sorts of leftover goodies - limes, persimmons (personally, not a fan), and a beautiful glass jar full of sage and parsley!

I took four limes and the herb jar.

And I carried my little treasures home, all the while contemplating what on earth I would do with so much sage. There wasn't that much parsley, and parsley's not so hard to contend with.

So the herbs sat on my counter, looking all pretty like this for a couple of days:
isn't that lovely?

Of course, sitting around on my kitchen counter looking pretty can only last for so long. So today, I did some sage research (and here and here also) It has all sorts of culinary and medicinal properties, which these links can further explain. I decided to make an infusion of the sage leaves, some of which to be used on my hair as I am dandruff prone and the rest of which to be ingested as a warm tea, which has properties as a dietary tonic, memory booster, and mucus buster (helpful for allergies and asthma). 

I put about 2 cups of leaves in a small saucepan, fired up the teakettle, and then poured the just-below-boiling water over them and let them steep for about 1/2 hour. I strained the tea through muslin cloth into mason jars. There was enough for two jars. I tasted the tea - it is super strong, just as every website warned. I'd agree that it's an acquired taste. Quite bitter. Apparently the addition if lime juice and honey makes the infusion more palatable. And since I have limes (yay produce exchange!!) I'll have to try it. 

Be warned! Sage is not to be consumed in large quantities! One of it's essential oils (thujone) can build up and become toxic, causing convulsions. So don't drink sage tea with every meal every day and you'll be fine (this is purely anecdotal advice. I am not an herbalist). Oh, and don't take it when you're pregnant (thujone is an abortifactant) or nursing (unless you're weaning and want help with drying up your milk). 

Now that you've been fairly warned, a photo of the final product! 

two jars. leftover leaves to be frozen. used leaves and muslin. 

Do any of you grow sage? What do you use it for?



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