An old saying says, "Shall a man die if he has sage in his garden?"
This statement refers to the health benefits of the humble sage. Sage tea is a good blood tonic and is beneficial for colds and sore throats.
Sage is one of the herbs I use excessively at the farm. Dice the fresh sage and mix with scrambled eggs. Incorporate it into the dough of biscuits and bread. We also like to dip large individual sage leaves into a tempera batter and deep fry it. Add dried or fresh sage to sour cream, cream cheese, or home-made acid set cheese.
Sage can be started by seed quite easily, but my preference to obtaining a sage plant is by laying a stem from an established plant on the ground. Cut a small nick on the underside of the woody stem (leave the stem attached to the mother plant). Place this cut section in a small indentation in the ground and put soil over the top of the stem. I lay a brick or heavy object on the buried stem to keep it from pulling up from the ground. Leave it for a couple of months ( I water this fairly often) so new roots can grow from the cut. To transplant I wait until late summer and then cut the stem away from the parent plant and using a large shovel scoop out the new plant with as much soil intact as possible and transplant to it's new home.
Sage likes a moderately dry, chalky soil. Lime the area well if you have acidic soil. If your winters are cold I recommend covering with burlap and hilling with a thick leaf mulch. I have a place in the green house for mine. I also have success planting right next to the greenhouse to give the plant some additional warmth during the winter.
Here is a recipe for one of our favorite suppers:
GARDEN HARVEST STEW AND SAGE BISCUITS
In a large cast iron skillet, brown 1 pound hamburger. Add fresh pole beans and 2 cups corn cut from the cob. Add 3 cups of pre-cooked black beans, dice 6 tomatoes, an onion, add whatever else is ripe and ready to harvest. Pour in about 1-2 cups chicken broth or water. Cook this down until the vegetables are tender. Add more broth if needed, this needs to be a little "soupy".In the meantime make some baking powder biscuits and add a good amount of
chopped sage to the dough.
Drop biscuit dough by large spoonfuls (or use my suggestion below) onto the top of the vegetables stew and put the cast iron skillet in the oven at about 400 degrees until the biscuits are done (12-15mins.). To serve scoop out into individual bowls, making sure everyone gets a biscuit or two. I have an extra large 20 inch skillet so I double the recipe for both biscuits and vegetables.
Just a note about biscuits: Try this, instead of rolling them out and cutting into circles and re-rolling the dough to cut in circles, and then re-rolling yet again to cut the last circle, Just pat the dough into a large, thick square and cut into equal square pieces. A square biscuit tastes just as good as a round one! Actually I think they are better because you don't over work the dough. Brush a little milk on top to help brown the biscuits.