SPOTLIGHT Ingredient: Sage

I want to take the time to really showcase Sage; an herb from my garden that I know will be showing up in kitchens all over as we get into the holiday season. While I do not tend to use fresh sage in a lot of dishes throughout the summer, fall and winter seasonal produce’s bold flavors are the perfect pairing for this potent herb. Customarily you will find ground or flaked dried sage tucked away at the back of your spice cabinet – mostly full and five years old, only to be broken out for Thanksgiving stuffing and gravy. But this long underutilized herb is being brought into the spotlight. Sage is now considered one of the world’s healthiest spices, and research shows it to have several key medicinal uses!  
Dried ground and dried whole leaves
When the leaves are dried they lose a lot of their potency, so for one not familiar with the flavor I would recommend starting with a dried version of the herb. The fresh leaves should be used sparingly; I tend to use them in sauces or soups, although I have also seen them fried and used as an edible garnish. The acuteness of the sage blends very well many ingredients, but goes particularly well with winter squash, pumpkin, thyme, walnuts, parsley, and rosemary. So this Thanksgiving would be a perfect time to experiment with those tried and true favorites, give them a little kick of sage!
Now to the best part – sage not only tastes good, but it’s also good for you! Herbalists today recommend drinking sage tea for an upset stomach or a sore throat, and one study has shown that college students taking sage supplements showed a significant increase in memory skills. Thus bringing us to the next study, in which preliminary research suggests that sage actually may improve early signs of Alzheimer’s . The herb has been shown to prevent an enzyme from destroying acetylcholine, which is a brain chemical involved in memory and learning. So this season, make sure to utilize this incredible herb and get a healthy dosage of sage!

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