Organic Rubbed Sage
Sage, or Salvia officinalis, is of the mint family, whose technical name is Lamiaceae. Salvia comes from the Latin word Salvio meaning "to save" or "to heal." Some Europeans called it herba sacra, meaning "sacred herb."
Rubbed sage is called such because the process used to break it up comes from rubbing the leaves together vigorously.
The leaves are thin like parsley, and the plant is drought tolerant. It has a yellow or greenish yellow colored essential oil. 1.5 to 3 percent essential oil can be gathered from the leaves when fresh, and even more can be collected when the plant is dried. When dried, it also contains vitamin A, calcium, potassium, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.
Common names include Dalmation sage, English sage, garden sage, common sage, and true sage. Other languages say sage like this: maryameya (Arabic), shao wei cao (Mandarin), sauge (French), salbei (German), bhuli tulsi (Hindi), seji (Japanese), salva (Portuguese), shalfej (Russian) and salvia (Spanish).
Sage has always been considered a powerful herb. In medieval times, "salvia salvatrix," which means "sage, the savior," was a common moniker for the herb.
This herb has the scent of centuries of ritual and spiritual community. One whiff and you may be transported to a familiar kitchen scene or a place of worship where you spent many hours. It has long been used to purify and cleanse the spirit and the home, whether by the Native Americans or by the witches of Salem. The druids also used sage to cleanse areas of bad energy. After burning has occurred, it is thought that lighting incense immediately will neutralize the masculinity of the herb and provide a feminine vibe to the space. If you're interested in or practice hoodoo, the folk magic that lives mostly in the Southern United States- not to be confused with Voodoo, the religion- and you're making a mojo bag for yourself, add sage to promote wisdom or help overcome grief.
In Latin there was a saying that translates to "why should a man die who has sage in his garden?" Even its scientific name leans on the idea that it is a savior, and historical stories and ideas concur with that claim.
Sage has the honor of being associated with Zeus, the king of the Gods in Greek mythology, as the herb was sacred to him. Jupiter of Roman mythology had the same fondness for the herb. It is no question as to why wise, well versed people are considered sages. Just the origin of its name reinforces the idea that it is of crucial importance to humanity, just as wisdom is. Often sages were depicted as older men, who had a broader, more insightful knowledge than ordinary folk. In some legends, they served as advisers to heroes, gods, and goddesses.
In Christian mythology, it is said that the plant rescued Jesus from death as a baby. King Herod heard a prophecy that the future king of the Jews would be born in his country and he became outraged. When King Herod was searching for all the male children under the age of two because of his paranoia about the birth of the messiah, Virgin Mary and Joseph fled. After a long journey, Joseph went to seek help and shelter and left Mary behind to rest with their baby. Virgin Mary heard soldiers coming toward her on horseback, which terrified her. She turned and pleaded with a rosebush for protection, but the rose refused because it did not want to be trampled in a search. The rose's selfishness is why it now has thorns. When she asked for protection from the clove bush, it was too busy blooming to respond to her, and so now it blooms with a terrible scent. Finally, sage offered the protection Mary desired, earning it the title of the protector of all the other herbs. Mary blessed the herb, promising that it would always be remembered as a savior. This event then made it the symbol of the Virgin Mary.
The Romans had high regard for sage and countless sacrifices and ceremonies were associated with the harvesting of its leaves. They believed it could stimulate the brain and it was also used as a cleaner for their teeth.
The tea from its leaves was so coveted that the Chinese were willing to trade four pounds of their tea for the French's sage alternative in the early days of tea trading. The Dutch also traded teas with the Chinese in the 17th century. This was almost unheard of at the time because Chinese tea was so valuable for its people, as it was such a huge part of their culture at the time.
Sage was used to mask the scent and taste of spoiled meat in the middle ages. This herb also has some antibacterial properties, which may be how people were able to survive eating rancid meat in the first place.
Europeans used to use it to ward off witchcraft. Sage was supposed to protect against the unknown and the frightening, both of which are components of witchcraft that many Europeans cowered from. Witches were burned at the stake, and the scent of the herb was used then to help mask the unpleasant scent.
In modern usage, sage can be a nice addition to shampoo. When added to shampoo and used on dark hair, it gives shine to the hair. When used on light hair however, it will dull the color and make the hair seem less vibrant. An old wives' tale says that the herb can delay the eventual graying of the hair. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a good remedy for sore throats, and so it is perfect when brewed into a fresh tea.
Sage originated in the Mediterranean but is cultivated today in mostly Europe and the United States. Croatia is also a popular place of cultivation. Its leaves vary in shades of green and yellowish green and its flowers can be purple, pink, blueish, or even white, making it an attractive addition to both decorative and kitchen gardens.
Common sage has a slender body, and furry green-gray leaves. The stem grows to about a foot or so tall, and its leaves are oblong, sit together in a pair on the wiry stem, and are rounded at the end. They are also slightly wrinkled with well-defined veins on both sides of the leaf.
This herb grows in places that are well drained and has a lot of sunshine. Most varieties can survive the winter, but must be tended to carefully. Harvest with plenty of time for the plants to recover before the winter.
Sage needs some space to grow. Opinions vary of course, but many people think that the best plants come from cuttings of previously established plants, not seeds.
Our organic rubbed sage comes from Turkey.
There are quite a few different varieties, the most common being called "garden sage" or "common sage." Dalmation sage, or English sage, is Salvia officinalis; clary sage Salvia sclaria; Spanish sage Salvia lavandulaefolia; and finally, Greek sage Salvia trilobal, are all common types.
Sage is most familiar to the American as being the green element of Thanksgiving stuffing. I know some grandmas who think the stuffing is not good enough unless you can't see anything that is not green. It has a distinct, strong flavor and so it is best to be sparing with the leaves, unless you are looking for a very well-defined robust taste to overpower every other flavor in the dish.
Italians use it to flavor meats. A very famous dish that utilizes sage as a key ingredient is Saltimbocca alla Romana. This dish consists of thinly cut veal steaks, topped with prosciutto, and then finally with a leaf or two. These parts are secured with a toothpick and then pan fried in a sauce made from a white wine that is usually and traditionally hailed from Sicily.
Sage is good for breaking up and digesting fatty foods, so it is great for seasoning meats, but it is also great in vegetarian bean soups. Pork dishes especially enjoy benefit, as they are often fatty in nature.
There are delicious cookies that can be made with the rubbed version called blackberry sage thumbprints.
If you have fresh leaves on hand, they can be battered and deep fried to create a chip that can be eaten alone or used to garnish a dish.
Sage pairs well with apples, dried beans, cheese, onions, and tomatoes.
If you're looking to combine it with other herbs, bay, caraway, cutting celery, dried ginger, lovage, majoram, paprika, parsley, savory, and thyme are all good choices.
Pineapple sage is excellent in fruity drinks or with ham dishes.
Some of our favorite recipes using Rubbed Sage are Butternut Squash and Sage Lasagna, Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage and Roasted Vegetables, and Sweet and Spicy Herb Roasted Mixed Nuts.
When dried, it can be stored for up to six months if it is away from light and in an airtight container. Dried, it is suitable for teas, and most recipes that call for sage. It is slightly more flavorful when dried, so use sparingly.
When fresh, it is best used as soon as you buy it or within a few days because it does not survive for very long.
When fresh, sage can be mild, with a warm spiciness and strongly camphorous. It is robust, savory and slightly peppery. Dried sage tends to be more potent and can seem acrid or musty in some cases.
Sage doesn't have a flavor equal, but if you insist on replacing it, there is the option of poultry seasoning, which contains sage. Marjoram works well as a replacement in recipes where meat is a key ingredient. If the recipe is looking to add woodiness, thyme can be used as a substitution.
1 tablespoon of fresh sage is equal to 1 teaspoon of dried. 12 leaves are approximately equal to 1 teaspoon of dried sage.
Serving Size1 tsp
Amount Per Serving
% Daily Value*