The genus of Salvia describes over 700 species of herbs known as sage. Salvia Officinalis is also known as common sage, or garden sage, and is often the frontrunner. Sage leaves are used for food preparation, and they are long, greenish-gray in color, and have a velvety texture when fresh. It has a sharply astringent peppery-camphor like flavor and is very fragrant when dried.
Historically, sage has been used for it’s claimed medicinal properties as an antiseptic or astringent and for the flavor it imparts in dishes. It is often used to enhance the flavor of pork, lamb, sausages and other meats. Fresh chopped leaves can be used in preparation of pickles, savory baked goods and salads. It can also be used in teas, gourmet vinegars, or marinades.
Sage has been thoroughly studied for chemical compound identification. Sage contains antioxidant compounds including, carnosol, and rosmarinic acid. It also includes the antimicrobial compounds thujone, cineol, borneol, thymol, and eugenol, which may make it’s extract an alternative to rosemary extracts for antioxidant protection of ingredients, depending on the application. Rosmarinic acid derivatives present in sage are thought to be responsible for much of its antioxidant activity.
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- In November 2015, a roasted butternut squash, sage and parmesan risotto launched in Ireland as a prepared ready to heat meal.
- Pumpkin and sage ravioli filled with pumpkin, toasted sage, and mozzarella launched in the U.S., while in the UK, a butternut squash and sage ravioli launched in October 2015. In Germany, a gnocchi in sage butter launched in May 2015.
- Many seasonal launches of stuffings featuring sage, as seen in the U.S., UK, and Canada. In the UK, some brands of stuffing balls launched featuring pork, sage and onion.
- Austria recently had a launch of Tomato and Herbs Couscous that featured sage in the seasoning.
- Many candies and lozenges have been launched in the past year: sage and thyme pastilles launched in the Czech Republic in April 2015, sage and lime pastilles as well as cherry and sage lozenges and sage bonbons launched in Germany.
- Many drinks featuring sage are teas, but there are a couple of interesting European beverages launched: Germany had a bottled sage, thyme, chamomile and hops drink, sweetened with stevia, as well as a carbonated soft drink with apples and herbs, including peppermint, sage and fennel.
- Pet Food also has had recent product launches that contained sage: A dry catfood with salmon was launched in Hungary containing sage, coriander, garlic and thyme. Canada had a launch of turkey, sweet potato, and cranberry wet dog food, while the US had a seasonal dog food containing chicken, potato, bacon and cheddar cheese.
- Restaurants may use fried sage leaves as garnish on soups or as a finish for pasta or potatoes.
Whether you formulate for dairy, confectionery, processed meats or bakery, consider the use of sage to enhance the flavor of your dishes.
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