Jedi-Sage

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“Wise in many ways, sage is.   Soothe your throat or flavor the soup, will it.   Yes, hmmm,” says Yoda from his kitchen perch. He takes a sprig from the bunch of sage your TakeHome box and puts it behind his big tufted ear. This sage (Salvia officinalis) was grown by Jacobs Farm, they grow organic herbs and edible flowers near Pescadaro, CA (San Mateo County).

This lovely herb is as pleasant to look at as it is to touch, and easy to identify as its name  is its color. The tannins and oils in sage leaves have many useful characteristics, including antiseptic properties. Since medieval times sage has been used medicinally to remedy everything from snakebites to the Plague. A few fresh leaves in hot water make an excellent gargle for a sore throat. Clinical trials are now underway to determine whether sage’s nootropic components can improve memory function in people with Alzheimer’s.

Sage is commonly used in European and American cuisine to the delight of all.  Salvia fritta, fried sage leaves accompanied by hard cheese, graces Italian tables. The Swiss love their  rosti of potatoes, apples, and sage. And most American Thanksgiving stuffings wouldn't be complete without the perfume of sage. Sage is also a perfect addition to hearty stews, or sauté with butter for pumpkin ravioli.

Sage is often part of an herbal quartet. “Are you Scarborough fair going to, hmm?   Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme,” Yoda is singing Simon and Garfunkel under his breath. It pairs nicely with mint as well. Since it has a strong flavor, a little goes a long way. Yoda is stacking the leaves like sheaves of paper, rolling them into tiny cigars and making chiffonade-style tiny slices with his light saber. “Strong in this one, the force is,” he muses.

-Heidi Lewis

 

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