Expand Your Green Thumb with Expert Plant Propagation Tips!- Learn about the Must-Have Tools Today!

Sage harvesting – storing, drying

Table of Contents

There are two main purposes for harvesting sage ( salvia officinalis ): culinary use and medicinal use. In culinary use, it is mostly used for seasoning meats, soups, grilled vegetables and some baked goods. For medical use, sage is traditionally used to aid digestion, soothe sore throats and reduce inflammation. Prepare sage tea or tincture for these purposes. You can also make a natural mouthwash from sage leaves for its strong minty flavour. Because of its minty flavour, it is also used to make candles and soaps, as a natural cleanser and in aromatherapy.

When should you harvest sage?

You should harvest sage before flowering. This is easy to see, as small buds are starting to appear on the plant. Do not wait until it starts to flower. Flowering can be avoided by frequent pruning. In calendar time, this means from late spring to the end of summer.

It is not worth waiting until flowering, because once flowering has taken place, this process draws the strong scents and flavours away from the leaves and towards the flower.

How to harvest sage?

To harvest the sage, pinch each leaf with your finger. You can cut off an entire stem, which may have several leaves. If you cut off the whole stem, you can prevent flowering. It is important to always disinfect the scissors when cutting the stems with any kind of scissors to avoid contaminating the freshly cut plant. Don’t cut more than half of the plant as it may kill the plant.

For more information about cutting sage plants( like bushes ), learn more on how to prune sage plants.

How to store sage?

To store the sage leaves, first clean the leaves with cold water, as they may have pieces of soil on them. There are two ways to store harvested sage leaves: fresh and dried.

How to store fresh sage leaves?

Of course, the aromas of fresh leaves should be preserved. To keep it, it must be refrigerated. You can cool them in the freezer or in the freezer. By cooling them in the freezer you can keep the freshness for longer. You can store the leaves in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

To store the leaves in the refrigerator, place fresh sage leaves in a plastic bag with a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. Store the bag in the refrigerator. This method can keep the sage fresh for about 1 to 2 weeks. place the sage stems in a jar with a little water, like a bouquet. Cover the leaves loosely with a plastic bag and store the jar in the refrigerator. Change the water every few days.

To freeze whole leaves, spread the sage leaves on a baking sheet in a single layer and freeze them. Once frozen, transfer the leaves to an airtight container or freezer bag. This method preserves the flavor well. In addition, you can chop the fresh leaves then freeze it. Place the chopped leaves in an ice cube tray. Fill the tray with water or olive oil and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the cubes to a freezer bag. This is convenient for adding sage directly to soups, stews, and sauces.

How to store dried sage leaves?

To store dried leaves, gather the sage stems into small bunches and tie them together with string. Hang the bunches upside down in a warm, dry, well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight. This method can take 1 to 2 weeks.

You can use dehydrator too. Place the sage leaves in a single layer on the dehydrator trays. Set the dehydrator to a low temperature (around 95-115°F or 35-46°C) and dry for 1 to 2 hours or until the leaves are completely dry and crumble easily.

Oven drying: Spread the sage leaves on a baking sheet in a single layer. Place the sheet in an oven set to the lowest temperature (preferably 180°F or 82°C) with the oven door slightly open. Check the leaves every 30 minutes until they are dry.

What can you use sage leaves for?

Sage leaves have many uses. You can chop fresh sage leaves finely and add them to soups, stews, sauces, and stuffing for a robust, earthy flavor. Use it for garnishing: Use whole fresh leaves as a garnish for roasted meats, poultry, and vegetable dishes. Sage Butter: Mix chopped sage with softened butter to create a flavored butter. Use it to top steaks, spread on bread, or melt over vegetables. Drink herbal tea: Steep a few fresh leaves in hot water for a soothing herbal tea.

To grow other vegetables, you can use sage for companion planting. See our guide for sage companion planting.