This native Mediterranean herb has been enjoyed for centuries for both its culinary and medicinal uses. The name comes from a derivative of the Latin salvus, meaning "safe," a reference to the herb's believed healing powers. The narrow oval gray-green leaves of this pungent herb are slightly bitter and have a musty mint taste and aroma. There's also a variety called pineapple sage, which has an intensely sweet pineapple scent. Small bunches of fresh sage are available year-round in many supermarkets. Choose sage by its fresh color and aroma. Refrigerate wrapped in a paper towel and sealed in a plastic bag for up to four days. Dried sage comes whole, rubbed (crumbled) and ground. It should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than six months. Sage is commonly used in dishes containing pork, cheese and beans, and in poultry and game stuffings. Sausage makers also frequently use it to flavor their products.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.