As we begin to enter the summer season, Salvias, more commonly known as sages, are in full bloom and looking their best. All of the species of Salvia belong to the mint family and comprise the largest and most diverse genus within it. To list all of the different Salvia’s many uses, one could easily fill a book, and so for the sake of saving trees and time, we will take only a brief look at some of the utilities of this amazing genus of plant.
Many of Salvia’s desirable properties can be traced to the fine hairs on its leaves (trichomes). Ever wonder why pineapple sage (Salvia elegans) smells like pineapple? The answer lies within the trichomes, as they contain the oil bearing cells responsible for nearly every one of Salvias’ aromatic, culinary, or even psychedelic properties. This explains why when one rubs the leaves of especially odoriferous species of Salvia, such as Salvia x Pozo Blue, the fragrance intensifies and lingers on one’s fingers; the friction caused by rubbing pops thousands of oil yielding cells.
While it is common knowledge that certain Salvias (mostly varieties of Salvia officianalis) are used in cooking, many do not know which specific types are considered ‘best’ and when/how they are to be implemented. Tricolor, purple, and other forms of variegated Salvia officionalis are aesthetically pleasing edible varieties, but do not possess the high degree of flavor and succulent consistency as the Berggarten type officionalis. Sage is one of the most potent culinary herbs so, depending on one’s desired taste, its addition should be sparse. Freshly picked sage, as opposed to dried, yields a more mild potency, as well as adding the ingredient early in the cooking process. Some dishes or meats that sage complements well include: high fat content meats (duck/goose, pork, lamb), addition to sausages and stuffings, and various sauces such as butter and tomato.
Read more: Blog: The Benefits of Planting Salvias