Take the heat out of cooking – with Sage

July 23, 2012

This article is by Edward Gillan of Avogel

Sage, Salvia officinalis, is one of our oldest medicinal plants and has been a popular food and medicine throughout history. It has been used to flavour beer and cheese and remains a popular garden and kitchen herb. Its generic name comes from the Latin, salvere, to be saved, and it was said that having sage in the home garden meant that no illness could prevail. It originates from the Mediterranean region.

There are many varieties of sage. It is a perennial shrub to 70cm (27in.) with rugose, glandular leaves that can be reddish or green and ovate. Violet flowers appear on terminal spikes in late summer to autumn and it is easy to cultivate. It likes to grow in well drained, rather limey soil in full sun. It does not like cold wet winters so it is worth growing it in a container that can be taken inside during the winter months.

It has long been considered one of the most important medicinal herbs. Early herbalists regarded sage, with its pretty purple leaves that sweat in the sun, as a sweat-regulator, helping with hot flushes accompanying a reduction in hormonal levels during menopause. Sage is one of the plants known as phyto-oestrogens.

The most common symptoms during the menopause are menopause hot flushes and menopause night sweats. Sage can be used to help cope with these debilitating symptoms and can do so without side effects and without interrupting the process of the menopause by interfering with hormone levels. Using an extract of sage, such as in sage tablets, can help relieve the symptoms of excessive sweating and night sweats.

Sage is commonly used to enhance the flavour of food. It goes very well with onions, especially in stuffings. The pungent flavour marries well with eggs too. If you have an abundance of sage leaves in your garden, why not reap the benefits of all that hard labour in your garden and give the following recipe a try.

Stuffed Sage Leaves

INGREDIENTS
Makes 20

BATTER:
1 small egg
50 ml beer
¼ tsp Herbamare® Original
25 g buckwheat flour
10 g butter, melted

FILLING:
5–6 sprigs of marjoram
200 g fresh cheese (see Tip)
¼ tsp Herbamare® Original
Freshly ground pepper
40 sage leaves from the garden
Olive oil for frying

1 Mix all the ingredients for the batter together and leave to rest for
30 minutes.
2 For the filling, chop the marjoram and mix with the remaining
ingredients.
3 Shake the sage leaves, do not wash if possible or if necessary clean
with a soft brush. Spread 1 tsp of the filling on the underside of
half of the leaves. Cover with the undersides of the remaining leaves.
4 Preheat a serving plate in the oven at 80 °C. Dip your pre-prepared
leaves in the batter and shallow fry in very hot oil on both sides for 3
to 4 minutes. Lay on kitchen paper and keep warm on the plate in the
oven.

Season with pepper and serve.

TIP For the filling, fresh cheese such as Philadelphia or
Gervais could be used.

About Eddie Gillan

Eddie BA (Hons), DN, DNT (Dist) qualified as a nutritional therapist in 1997 and has a busy practice in Glasgow. He has worked in the health industry since 1987 and currently combines her practice with the role of Education Manager for A.Vogel Herbal Remedies. Eddie lectures, trains and writes extensively on health issues, and is often to be found quoted in health magazines and on health-related websites.

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