Sage is a versatile and highly aromatic herb. It is one of the hardier herbs and that hardiness allows you to preserve it in a multitude of ways – all which have various benefits to keeping sage’s flavor at the ready for months to come. Let’s review how to store sage for the freshest possible flavor.
Store sage in the refrigerator
Fresh sage can last in the refrigerator for up to a week if you store it correctly. Remove the leaves from the stems, wrap in a damp paper towel and place in a resealable plastic bag.
Another option is to place the leaves in a jar or similar container and cover with oil. This method can keep your sage usable for up to three weeks. You can use any type of cooking oil, but olive oil works best.
The most traditional method of preserving sage is to air dry it. You need no special equipment to do this, just a way to protect the leaves from sunlight. Tie the stems together and cover the bundle with a paper bag into which you have poked holes. The holes ensure that air can pass through the bag. You need adequate air for the sage to dry properly and to prevent them from getting moldy. Hang the bundle of sage in a location with dry, moving air. The sage should take about two weeks to dry, depending on how humid it is in your location.
If you don’t want to wait two weeks, you can also dry sage in your oven. All you really need is the pilot light but to speed the process up, you can turn your oven on to about 180 degrees. Spread the sage on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and place it in the oven. Leave the oven door open slightly to keep it from getting too hot and to allow moisture to escape. Your sage should be dry after about two hours.
A food dehydrator will also do a good job drying sage. Set it to its lowest temperature setting and dry the sage for about a day.
Whichever method you use, you should crumble the sage once it is dry. This allows you to get rid of the tougher woody parts. You can then package your sage for long-term storage.
This is a great method for sage as it allows you to preserve the herb’s fresh flavor. You have multiple options for freezing sage.
One of the simplest methods is simply to freeze the leaves in freezer bags. Wash the sage, pat the leaves dry and remove them from the stems before placing them into the freezer bags that you have labeled and dated.
Sage also works well using the ice cube method. Chop the sage leaves and place them in ice cube trays. You can add water or butter to the compartments and freeze. Once frozen, remove from the trays and place into freezer bags for long term storage. Just toss a cube or two into a dish to flavor it.
You can keep frozen sage for up to a year, but it is best when used in the first six months.
Place three or four sprigs of fresh sage in a bottle, add about a cup of vinegar and place in a sunny spot for two to three weeks. Letting it sit for even longer is better as more of the sage flavor will infuse into the vinegar. You can use most non-balsamic vinegars but for best results, try white wine or apple cider vinegar.