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We have this sage plant and it's grown into gigantic monster which is consuming my herb patch.

I'm going to attack it with gusto and will have lots of sage to do something with. Last year we made a sage jelly but this year i want to do something else.

What are my options?

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By the way, considering this is a list question rather than one with a definitive answer, I'd suggest marking as community wiki. That tends to be the precedent I've seen. –  justkt Aug 19 '10 at 12:32
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Why is there one vote to close as 'belongs on meta'? –  Adam Shiemke Aug 19 '10 at 15:45
    
@Adam, sounds like someone clicked the wrong "vote to close" option –  Rob Aug 19 '10 at 19:02

9 Answers 9

up vote 14 down vote accepted

One of the most popular things I've seen sage used for is tea. You just dry the leaves, steep as you would regular tea leaves (personally I like it with ginger root if I have some handy), and then maybe a little honey or lemon. Sage is anti-bacterial, which is a nice bonus.

Meat-wise, I like to use sage with pork chops, either as part of a marinade or just chopped and rubbed onto the pork and then grilled. Sage also goes great with chicken. Roll the sage in your hands to release the oils, then either chop very finely or mash with a mortar and pestle. Mix with a little salt and rub onto chicken breasts, and sautee in oil or butter (or grill it).

Veggie-wise, I think it pairs very well with sliced, sauteed carrots. It goes very well with potatoes, try sweating some onion in a pan with a little oil or butter, adding some potato slices, and right before they're ready add fresh chopped sage. It's also a great ingredient in stuffing, dried or fresh.

I had sage-laced cornbread once, it was pretty delicious. Wasn't there for the making of, so not sure if there was any special preparation needed, but the end result was nice. In fact, a friend of mine a while back who was a baker loved using sage in various breads, but baking is one of my weak spots so I can't really give you any specifics other than "this combination works, check Google for recipes" :)

At one point, I heard someone refer to what they called "sage fritters", which were basically sage dredged in seasoned flour and egg, then quickly fried in oil. I did a quick search to find the source, and didn't see it, but did come across a very interesting idea: Sage and Apple Fritters (these are much more of a true fritter than what I first mentioned).

If you get tired of it while it's fresh and you're running around like a lunatic trying to find uses for it, there's always freezing. I freeze or dry any large quantities of herbs at the end of the summer, there are a few methods available. You can reference this question, I feel like there's a better one about specifically freezing herbs on this site but I can't find it right now. The short of it is, some people have good luck freezing whole leaves as they are, some people prefer to chop them or put them in the food processor with some oil or stock, and freeze into cubes. Both methods have advantages and disadvantages.

Alton Brown has a great method for drying described in this episode (text transcript). Essentially, you layer an air filter (like you'd use in your central air unit) with an herb. Place another filter on top, layer it again. Continue as much as you want, then strap them all to a box fan. Instead of weeks to months, you should have dried herbs in a couple days, max. You can watch the video here, skip to about 2:30 in. Bonus: the same episode describes his method of freezing herbs, that's about 1:00 in on the same link.

Speaking of Alton Brown, he recommends herb vinegar - you'll find how he makes it on the (text transcript) link in this paragraph.

There are also a TON of medicinal uses and has been used for thousands of years for various remedies. Since this is a cooking site I'm hesitant to list them all (there are a lot), but you can read more about the most popular ones here, here and here.

This is non-culinary, but you can use it to "smudge", which is often tied to cleansing rites, but can also be considered just a simple incense/potpourri. I had a hippie friend once whose house always smelled like smoldering sage. More details can be found here.

Can you tell I grow sage and generally have an abundance at the end of the season?

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Can't top that. I'll add one thing, which is to put make an herb-infused olive oil (homecookingrocks.com/herb-infused-olive-oil-make-your-own). Just keep an eye on the shelf-life, since fresh herbs can spoil in oil in a few weeks. –  Ocaasi Aug 19 '10 at 12:09
    
Great call - I completely forgot about that. I actually made a sage/rosemary olive oil once and it was delicious, but I left it a little too close to our kitchen window and it went rancid pretty quickly, so you're dead on about shelf life! –  stephennmcdonald Aug 19 '10 at 12:10
    
Thanks, really opened my mind to bewildering array of all things sagey. –  Hath Aug 19 '10 at 20:19
    
My pleasure, glad I could help! I enjoy gardening almost as much as I love cooking, but I always wonder what to do with the abundance of herbs I have at the end of the season. The year before last, I had way too much sage and went on a research spree. This year it's looking like it's going to be basil :) –  stephennmcdonald Aug 19 '10 at 20:27

Make a sage and lemon butter for putting on steaks and other meats. Blanch the sage leaves for 20 seconds, chop them finely and mix them into some butter along with some lemon zest. Roll into a sausage shape in some cling-film and freeze.

Now whenever you have a steak, or a pork chop, or anything else you think a sagey, lemony butter would suit, remove it from the freezer, roll back the cling-film and slice a few rounds off.

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I love herbed butter on steak! –  justkt Aug 19 '10 at 12:12
    
Sage butter on steak is a great idea, I can't believe I've never tried it. Sounds delicious! –  stephennmcdonald Aug 19 '10 at 12:15
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sage + fine chopped fresh rosemary + tarragon + chicken Breasts = <3 –  dassouki Aug 19 '10 at 12:19
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@stephennmcdonald, there was a fantastic one on a UK cooking show recently for a tarragon and balsamic vinegar butter (bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/rumpsteakwithtarrago_93124), which I've tried and was fantastic. Give that a go too! =) –  Rob Aug 19 '10 at 14:15
    
@Rob, thanks for sharing that link - I'm putting it on my meal plan for next week without telling my wife, should be a very nice surprise for her! –  stephennmcdonald Aug 19 '10 at 14:23

When making mashed potatoes this weekend, my other half looked at me and said "do we have any sage?" The sad answer was no, but sage goes well in mashed potatoes.

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Mmmm...great advice. Mashed potatoes, sage, a little caramelized onion, some chopped bacon, and I'm in heaven! –  stephennmcdonald Aug 19 '10 at 12:16

I took whole sage branches and put them alongside the coals so they smoked slowly while I grilled porkchops. Pork and sage are awesome together and it added a great sagey flavor without being TOO sagey.

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Wow, using sage like wood chips - what a great idea. Adding this to my repertoire, thanks for the tip! –  stephennmcdonald Aug 19 '10 at 15:09
    
Yeah you just have to be careful that they don't burst into flames, but it's a good use for the woody older stems that aren't as tender. –  Laura Thomas Aug 19 '10 at 16:04

Sage pudding for something more "out there". Steep the sage in hot water to make a sage tea. Pull out the leaves and add gelatin. Let set in the fridge. Then stick it in the blender. You'll end up with a nice pudding. Serve it on the side of some meat. Note it may melt if you put it on the meat. Try a less heat sensative gelling agent if you want it in contact with something warm.

I also like the leaves pan fried in some oil. They'll get really crispy and develop a lovely flavor. Serve on salad or with scallops. No need to add all the flour or deep fry them as already suggested.

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Not really a use for a lot of it, but fried sage leaves are a traditional accompaniment for a chicken galantine. They're pretty fun to make, if you're into cooking classical French food, or just like a challenge.

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Put some paprika, some ground white pepper, the sage leaves and a comparable quantity of garlic plus white wine to cover everything into the blender. Blend them thoroughly. Get yourself some slices of pork neck - half an inch thick. Knead the pork slices through with the sauce. Put into a plastic bag and refrigerate overnight. Slice up two tomatoes and an onion. Chop up some parsley - so that a tablespoon of chopped parsley should result. Mix parsley, tomatoes, onion, half a teaspoon of ground pepper, a tiny little bit of salt, a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and two tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl. If you like sweet, add half a teaspoon of honey to the mix. Grill the meat on an open grill - not a smoker - at somewhat above medium heat. Add salt only after grilling. Eat everything with just some whole wheat bread.

Just had some this morning at breakfast. I'll skip lunch - was too tasty and too much.

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Sounds tasty, will definitely be trying this! –  Simon Steele Sep 2 '10 at 16:15

I dried about 1/3 of my sage plant earlier this year when it first got out of control and crumbled the dried leaves into a airtight container. I now have enough dried sage for a year.

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Use as much of it as you can while it's fresh. This recipe for Sweet Potato and Sage Gratin is great.

Dry the remaining sage. Here's how to dry sage and other herbs.

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