Ways to Use More of the Anti-Alzheimers Herb, Sage, in Cooking
Answered by: Yvonne Tremblay
Question from: Grace Luhrs
Posted on: September 4, 2003

Have recently read that sage may be an important factor in preventing Alzheimers disease. Would like to know of some uses for this herb other than poultry seasoning.

Sage, particularly dried sage, is commonly used in stuffings but it has many other uses. One of my favourite meat dishes is Saltimbocca (veal or chicken) made with fresh whole sage leaves, prosciutto and Parmesan cheese in a marsala and lemon sauce. (See recipe in my book "Thyme in the Kitchen".) Leaves are not normally used uncooked as cooking mellows its flavour. Fresh sage leaves are delicious fried in a little oil or butter until crispy. Serve as garnish with squash soup, roast chicken or pork. Place a few sprigs of fresh sage under the cleaned out half of an acorn squash and bake in oven. Cook sage with oil and garlic and stir in to cooked cannelini (white kidney beans) or other bean dishes. Cook sage with sliced onions for focaccia (see recipe for Sage & Red Onion Focaccia in "Thyme in the Kitchen".) Try my Citrus & Sage Scones for a sweet taste (lemon and orange peel), add to biscuits or cornbread (Cheddar Sage Cornbread in Thyme in the Kitchen). I have also used sage in chutneys, such as Cran-Apple Sage and Thyme Chutney (in my book "Prizewinning Preserves"). Cook fresh sage with fried potatoes, onions and garlic (or roast in the oven...sage sprigs too). Cook sage in olive oil with a little garlic and toss with pasta. Cook chopped sage with braised cabbage and apples. Try also brewing as a tea.

Sage partners well with other herbs such as rosemary, thyme, marjoram and oregano, summer and winter savory and bay leaves. You might want to try my Roasted Garlic Stuffing with Sage and Thyme ("Thyme in the Kitchen") with apple, roasted garlic and fresh parsley. You will enjoy the difference the fresh herbs make to the flavour.

Sage is a perennial and most people find they need only one plant. It gets bigger each year so make sure you have enough room around it for expansion. Does not like too much moisture. Likes lots of sun but will tolerate a little light shade. Golden, purple and variegated sages are also great to cook with and have similar flavour to garden sage and can be substituted in recipes.

Drying is one of the best ways to store sage after harvesting. My favourite method is to place several sprigs of sage in a medium paper bag then secure around bag and stems with an elastic. Poke holes in the bag for air circulation. Place in a dry place for about a week or until leaves are crispy. Remove leaves from stems (do not crush until ready to use) and place in glass jar; store away from heat and light. Sage leaves may also be dried in the microwave (see Thyme in the Kitchen). To tell whether dried herbs still have flavour, rub leaves with fingers and smell. You should detect the distinct aroma of the herb. To freeze I recommend preparing in an herb butter (see "Thyme in the Kitchen").

For more information on "Thyme in the Kitchen" or "Prizewinning Preserves", please visit www.yvonnetremblay.com. Books can be ordered from Richters.

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