A low-growing shrub with soft, velvety leaves of pale grey-green. Some may be variegated or purple in shade. Sage has a pungent, slightly camphorous flavour and should be used sparingly.
Look for tender young stems; avoid blackened leaves.
Pick the leaves off the stems for use in cooking. The potent flavour means that they can withstand prolonged cooking, and also that they dry very well. Sage and onion stuffing is a classic accompaniment to roast chicken or turkey, while whole leaves can be fried until crisp and scattered over gnocchi, tortellini or pasta recipes. It also compliments pork very well and is often used in sausage mixtures. Because of its strong flavour and aroma, it’s best used alone, not mixed with other herbs.
Keep fresh sage wrapped in kitchen paper and store in the fridge – it should last for 2-3 days. Discard when the leaves turn black. Sage dries well; hang bunches in a dry cool pace until dried.