Sage-spice ~ Super Spices
The soft, yet sweet and savory flavor of sage along with its wonderful health-promoting properties is held in such high esteem that the International Herb Association awarded sage the title of "Herb of the Year" in 2001!
Fresh, dried whole or powdered, sage is available throughout the year.
Sage leaves are grayish green in color with a silvery bloom covering.
They're lance-shaped and feature prominent veins running throughout.
Sage has been held in high regard throughout history both for it culinary and medicinal properties.
It's reputation as a panacea is even represented in its scientific name, Salvia officinalis, derived from the Latin word, salvere, which means "to be saved".
Like rosemary, its sister herb in the mint (Labitae) family, sage-spice contains a variety of volatile oils, flavonoids (including apigenin, diosmetin, and luteolin), and phenolic acids, including the phenolic acid named after rosemary ~ rosmarinic acid.
Anti-Oxidant & Anti-Inflammatory Actions
Rosmarinic acid can be readily absorbed from the GI tract, and once inside the body, acts to reduce inflammatory responses by altering the concentrations of inflammatory messaging molecules (like leukotriene B4).
The rosmarinic acid in sage and rosemary also functions as an antioxidant.
The leaves and stems of the sage plant also contain antioxidant enzymes, including SOD (superoxide dismutase) and peroxidase.
When combined, these three components of sage ~ flavonoids, phenolic acids, and oxygen-handling enzymes ~ give it a unique capacity for stabilizing oxygen-related metabolism and preventing oxygen-based damage to the cells.
Increased intake of sage as a seasoning in food is recommended for persons with inflammatory conditions (like rheumatoid arthritis),as well as bronchial asthma, and atherosclerosis.
The ability of sage to protect oils from oxidation has also led some companies to experiment with sage as a natural antioxidant additive to cooking oils that can extend shelf life and help avoid rancidity.
Better Brain Function
Want some sage advice?
Boost your wisdom quotient by liberally adding sage to your favorite soups, stews and casserole recipes
Sage-spice is native to countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea and has been consumed in these regions for thousands of years.
In medicinal lore, sage-spice has one of the longest histories of use of any medicinal herb.
The Greeks and Romans were said to have highly prized the many healing properties of sage.
The Romans treated it as sacred and created a special ceremony for gathering sage.
Both civilizations used it as a preservative for meat, a tradition that continued until the beginning of refrigeration.
What these cultures knew from experience, that sage could help to reduce spoilage, is now being confirmed by science, which has isolated the herb's numerous terpene antioxidants.
How to Choose and Store
Whenever possible, choose fresh sage over the dried form of the herb since it is superior in flavor.
The leaves of fresh sage should look fresh and be a vibrant green-gray in color.
They should be free from dark spots or yellowing.
To store fresh sage leaves, carefully wrap them in a damp paper towel and place inside a loosely closed plastic bag.
Store in the refrigerator where it should keep fresh for several days.
Dried sage should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place where it will keep fresh for about six months.
Tips for Preparing Sage:
Since the flavor of sage-spice is very delicate, it's best to add the herb near the end of the cooking process so that it will retain its maximum essence.
A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
with olive oil, sage and garlic and serve on bruschetta.
Use sage-spice as a seasoning for tomato sauce.
Add fresh sage-spice to omelets and frittatas.
Sprinkle some sage-spice on top of your next slice of pizza.
Combine sage leaves, bell peppers, cucumbers and sweet onions with plain yogurt for an easy to prepare, refreshing salad.
When baking chicken or fish in parchment paper, place some fresh sage-spice leaves inside so that the food will absorb the flavors of this wonderful herb.
Sage contains a variety of volatile oils, flavonoids (including apigenin, diosmetin, and luteolin), and phenolic acids, including the phenolic acid named after rosemary - rosmarinic acid.
Growing it: Needs full sun and a dry sandy soil.
Sage means “to be in good health.”
Now, if you're wondering what to have for dinner this evening;
Seared Tuna with Sage
Tuna is so high in Omega-3’s that it's a wonderful fish to eat often.
This is a great tasting and interesting way of preparing it with the fresh sage that can be done in just 15 minutes.
It gives you a lot of flavor with a healthy, light sauce.
Prep and Cook Time: 15 minutes
1 lb. tuna cut into 4 pieces
2 med. cloves garlic, pressed
2 Tbs. finely grated or minced lemon rind
1 + 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs. finely minced fresh sage,
1 Tbs. finely minced fresh parsley
1/4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
pinch red pepper flakes
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
Prepare all the ingredients and have ready to use.
Rub tuna with 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice and season with sea salt and black pepper.
Preheat a stainless steel 10-12 inch skillet over medium heat for about 2 minutes.
Cook tuna on each side for about 1½ minutes.
This is our (Stove top Searing) cooking method.
Remove from pan, and place on a plate.
Add rest of ingredients to pan in order given, and cook for about 1 minute.
Pour over tuna and serve.
Healthy Cooking Tips:
Because tuna can get dry when cooked it's important to choose very fresh cuts at least 1 inch thick.
Yellowfin tuna is a good type for this dish.
Because temperature varies in stoves check for doneness only about 30 seconds after turning.
Tuna is usually best, cooked medium rare.
Stick the tip of a sharp knife to check for doneness.
It should begin to flake on the outside, but still be reddish and firm in the center.
Remove it from the heat slightly before it's cooked to your preference, as it continues to cook after it has been removed from the heat.
Make sure that your sauce ingredients are very finely minced for this recipe, especially the lemon rind.
The flavors merge together better and the rind can be strong and bitter if left in bigger pieces.
Don't over cook the sauce.
You want it fresh tasting for best flavor.
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