Sage is an evergreen herb belonging to the mint family. It has oval-shaped, gray-green leaves with a cottony texture and a slightly fuzzy or fluffy appearance and is attached with woody stems. Sage has an earthy flavor and a strong herbal aroma; its flavor brings warmth to the dishes.
Sage retains its flavor when dried, but it will not have the same brightness as in the fresh sage. Dried sage has a slightly bitter taste because the flavor is concentrated once it’s dried. Sage also provides several health benefits, including lowering blood sugar and cholesterol.
How To Store Sage
When you go looking for sage, you might find both of its types at the supermarket, but at different places. Fresh sage usually comes with its stems to retain its freshness, while if you are looking for dried sage, it can be located in the grocery store’s spice section.
If you wish to store fresh sage, you might have to look closely before picking your choice of herb. Look for bright-colored leaves that are not wilted. It is necessary to avoid sage containing dried-out edges or spots on it.
Keep Fresh Sage In Refrigerator
Fresh sage leaves are not eaten raw because of their harsh flavor. To store fresh sage, remove the leaves from the stem and wrap them in paper towels. Keep the wrapped leaves in a plastic bag and the refrigerator.
Cover Leaves In Olive Oil
When covered in olive oil, fresh leaves can be stored for a longer period inside the refrigerator. These leaves can be used with other ingredients as the sage leaves are now flavored with olive oil.
Keep Dried Sage In A Cool Place
Dried sage usually comes inside an airtight container, and with the best before date, these can be stored at room temperature. Make sure to keep dried ground sage in the dark cupboard away from heat and sunlight.
Another way to store sage is to keep it prepared for use in a variety of dishes. For example, if you want to use it in baked goods, you can make sage honey. Other than that, you can also make sage salt or sage vinegar for roasted vegetables or dressings and sage syrup for pancakes. There are a variety of ways to preserve sage this way.
Can You Freeze Sage
Although freezing can intensify the flavor of sage, if you wish to keep the fresh sage for longer than just a few weeks, you can freeze it. Wash the leaves and pat them dry with a paper towel. Remove the leaves from the stem and let them air dry for a few minutes. Pack the dried leaves loosely in a freezer bag and store them inside the freezer.
Another way to freeze fresh sage is by chopping the leaves and keeping them in an ice cube tray with a little water. Freeze the cubes and then transfer them to freezer bags.
How Long Does Sage Last
The shelf life of sage depends on the type and quality of the herb you are storing. Due to this aspect, dried sage will have a longer shelf life than fresh sage, even if it is frozen. Dried sage comes with a best before date and can be kept fresh even after a few weeks of that date. The estimated time for dried ground sage is up to two to three years.
Fresh sage brought from the market can stay inside the fridge for 10 to 14 days if wrapped in a paper towel and a plastic sheet. If covered in olive oil, the fresh sage leaves will keep in the refrigerator for about three weeks without going bad.
When you freeze fresh sage, it means you have preserved it for a period of 6 months to a year at the most.
How To Tell If Sage Is Bad
Herbs tend to go bad quickly if not taken care of; you can maximize the shelf life of sage as long as possible, but there still comes a time when they will spoil if not used within that time. Here are some tips for identifying if the sage is still fit for use or ready to be discarded.
- Appearance: Fresh sage that is being spoiled will discolor and turn very soft. Dark spots may also appear at the edges of the sage leaves.
- Odor: An off smell coming from fresh sage is an indication that it has spoiled. To check dried sage, take a small amount in your hand and crush it. The smell will tell you if the ground, dried sage has gone bad.
- Taste: If you feel that the aroma of sage is weak and the flavor has changed when you taste it, then that sage should be replaced.