The wonderful texture of Sage leaves

Enjoying aromatic texture: drying and storing Sage

Having fresh herbs to hand makes home cooking even tastier. During the warmer months of the year I like to make sure I’ve got some of my Summer-grown herbs stashed away ready for use in the colder months too. A little while ago I was telling you about the various herbs I am growing and preserving this year.

One of the herbs I grew from seed this Spring was the wonderfully aromatic Sage. I cut my first batch of Sage 6 weeks ago on 24th June and hung it up to dry. Now this week I when I checked its progress I decided it was dried enough and ready to ‘rub’. Rubbing Sage is simply breaking up the dried leaves with your fingertips so that the herb can easily be stored in a jar ready for use.

Dried Sage stems and jar
My first batch of Sage, now dried and ready to store

You can rub Sage onto a plate or other surface but as I only had a small batch to rub I attempted to rub it straight into the jar … most of it went in, as you can see, with only a little escaping onto the clean cardboard beneath. First I removed the Sage leaves from their stem. To do this, hold the base of the stem in one hand and point the leaves downwards. With your other hand, pinch the stem firmly near its base between your thumb and first finger. Then draw your ‘pinch’ downwards, pulling the leaves from the stem as you move towards the top of the stem.

Removing the dried Sage leaves from the plant stem
Removing the dried Sage leaves from the plant stem
Stem and dried Sage leaves now separated
Stem and dried Sage leaves now separated

Now we are ready to rub the Sage leaves. It’s best to lay the leaves down and work with just a few at at time. Hold the leaves between your thumbs and fingertips and literally rub the leaves. If they are dry enough they should break fairly easily, though some may need a little tug to tear them apart. Sage leaves don’t take much processing as we are aiming for small pieces of leaf rather than dust! When all of the leaves have been rubbed they can be stored in an air-tight jar.

Rubbing the dried Sage leaves with my fingers to break them up
Rubbing the dried Sage leaves with my fingers to break them up

I love not only the smell of Sage but the texture of the leaves too, so rubbing the Sage allows me to enjoy both! I think the way the veins grow in the Sage leaves give them such an interesting mosaic texture.

Grey-green Sage leaves with their mosaic texture
Grey-green Sage leaves with their mosaic texture

My Sage plants have also now grown on enough to allow me to cut a second batch today and hang them up in their brown paper packet for drying. This second batch is more substantial than the first. This is because when I cut the Sage I left about one third of the stem on each plant. All of the stems I had left have now re-sprouted strongly. Again I have left a little of each stem to enable the Sage to regrow.

My second batch of Sage, cut and ready to dry
My second batch of Sage, cut and ready to dry

Maybe I will be able to take a third batch for drying before the plants slow down their growth when the weather begins to grow colder and there’s less sunshine – I shall have to wait and see.

Do take a look at the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge this week for lots more fabulous textures šŸ™‚

J Peggy Taylor

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Enjoying aromatic texture: drying and storing Sage

  1. Looking at the photos reminded me of fenugreek. We use the seeds in our cooking, the tender leaves too are very tasty , we use them in many dishes. they are also eaten raw. These leaves are dried and powdered coarsely and are used for garnishing dishes made from lentils.

    1. I have read that fenugreek is a very versatile herb in cooking – it sounds as if all of the plant is very useful and tasty šŸ™‚ I think we can also buy the seeds here in the UK, though I have not grown them myself … maybe I shall try.

Your thoughts and views?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s