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How to Use Sage in Cooking

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Sage is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. It has a slightly earthy flavor that pairs well with other savory ingredients. Here are a few tips on how to use sage in cooking to make the most of this delicious herb.

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Chopped sage on a wooden board.
How to use sage in cooking.

Cooking with sage

The herb sage has a long history of culinary use. However, many people are intimidated by the thought of cooking with sage.

Its savory, slightly bitter flavor pairs well with fatty meats like pork and lamb, and it is a common ingredient in stuffing recipes. It is often associated with Thanksgiving turkey, but sage can be used in many other dishes as well.

It is best to use fresh sage when possible, but dried sage can also be used.

If you are looking to add a new flavor to your cooking, sage is a great option.

What does sage taste like?

Sage is a woody herb with a pungent aroma and peppery taste, with notes of camphor and eucalyptus.

It has a very bold flavor which can make foods bitter if you use too much. When cooking with sage, a little goes a long way.

It has an oily, velvety texture, and more substance than most other herbs, making it a great addition to stuffings.

What does sage go with?

The flavor of sage enhanced many foods with a high fat content.

It goes well with most meats (particularly ground meat), particularly beef, pork, lamb, game meats, and all poultry.

It also pairs well with pastas, risottos, and gnocchi. Finely chopped it makes a fantastic addition to fillings for ravioli.

Sage is also a great pairing with butter or oil. Finely chopped it may be used to make a tasty herb butter, or combined with nuts and cheese and blended into a pesto.

The woody flavor of sage also goes well with any of the fall and winter vegetables, like winter squash, pumpkin, potatoes, parsnips, or sweet potatoes.

Using sage in cooking

To use sage in cooking, pluck the leaves from the stems (the stems are never eaten). Then you can simply add a few leaves to your dish.

Fresh sage leaves can be used whole, or they can be chopped before being added to your recipe.

Dried sage leaves can also be used, but they should be crumbled before being added to food (dried sage is often sold as rubbed sage, which has been pre-crumbled).

When using sage in cooking, it is best to add it early in the cooking process so that the flavor has time to develop.

Finely chopped leaves are often added to stuffings, filling for ravioli (with cheese), or sausages, before cooking.

You can also add a leaf or two to meats or vegetables during roasting or grilling.

Whole sage leaves may also be breaded or battered and deep- or pan-fried and used as a garnish.

Final thoughts

Sage is a great herb to use in cooking, and there are many ways to incorporate it into your dishes. Whether you’re using it to flavor meat or vegetables or using it as a garnish, sage can add a lot of flavor to your meal.

When using sage in cooking, it’s important to remember that a little goes a long way. Start with a small amount and add more to taste.

With a little experimentation, you’ll soon find the perfect amount of sage to use in your favorite recipes.

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