Why is sage drying so quickly?

ClareBroommaker's picture

My husband cut back our sage while it is in bloom and plucked the leaves from the branches. I spread them over napkins on a multilevel cake/cookie cooling rack. They are drying very quickly compared to other years.

Normally, I wait till after bloom is finished to do any harvesting because I want to enjoy the flowers. Sometimes I harvest a lot of leaves in the fall. I'm accustomed to needing weeks for either of these sage leaves to dry.

Why do you suppose the leaves are drying so quickly this year? Is it because the leaves are so much younger? Could it be because of the mostly cooler spring this year?

I think I might change my harvest habit if I can get the leaves out of the way so much more quickly.

When do you pick sage? I really do prefer to use sage dry rather than fresh, so I won't just pop out to the garden every time I want to use some.

I like fresh sage.

A great way to use up plenty of fresh sage is in a sort of pesto: melt a stick of butter and add plenty of finely chopped sage and cook together gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir into freshly cooked pasta.

This uses a LOT of sage; a colander-full chops and cooks down to nothing.

ClareBroommaker's picture

I suspect that would taste too powerful for me to enjoy it in that kind of concentration, but I would be curious enough to try it.

We have enough sage to give bottles of it dried as Christmas presents, so we can spare some with which to experiment.

Was thinking I should have asked DH to save the flowers for drying, too. I'd like it if they retain their color.

When I cook the sage down like that, it seems to ... moderate the taste?
It doesn't seem that strongly flavored to me.

Sage is normally used dried so it might be that drying makes it taste stronger than fresh.

I dunno. Try it with less sage and see. You can always add more.