Sage – Salvia Officinalis

Salvia Officinalis

Sage – Salvia Officinalis. This is a large genus with over 900 species, distributed throughout the world. Although Sage favours dry, stony or rocky hillsides, they can also be found in temperate and sub-tropical areas as well. Native to Spain is Salvia lavandulifolia – Spanish Sage – an evergreen, woody perennial, with pale lavender blue flowers. As an evergreen Sage can be picked all year round. Most Sages dislike the wet, and need good drainage, thriving in sunny positions. They can be grown from seed, but cuttings are very easy, taking about 4 weeks to root in the summer. Whilst Sage can be grown in pots, it is more susceptible to red spider mite.

Sage has been used in the Mediterranean area for centuries. The name is derived from the Latin, salvere, meaning ‘to be well’. The Romans used it to increase fertility and considered it a sacred herb to be gathered with ceremony. The Greeks used it to heal ulcers and snake bites. In the 17th century, Sage was so highly valued that Dutch merchants found that the Chinese would trade 3 chests of China Tea for 1 chest of Sage.

Sage aids the digestion of fatty foods, and is especially good with pork.

Sage Dip

Great with crackers and breadstick at parties

20g fresh sage

1 clove of garlic

450g cream cheese

Juice of one lemon

Finely chop sage and garlic and mix thoroughly with all other ingredients. Place in bowl and refrigerate overnight to allow flavours to develop. Serve with breadsticks, crudites

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