Sage flowers.

Date: Sun, 31 Mar 1996 00:00:03 -0800
To: The Culinary Herbs & Spices List <HERBS.HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
From: Laurie Otto <lotto.PTIALASKA.NET>
Subject: More on Sage Flowers

I was thinking more about the sage flower issue, and what you could do to take advantage of their beauty as well as their flavor. You could make sage flower butter, by mixing it in the processor with some lemon juice and freeze it in logs for later use. You could candy the flowers, but I haven't yet hit on something sweet that it would combine with - perhaps as decoration on a lemon tart. You could also make sage flower jelly, using any simple recipe for herb jelly or by melting apple jelly with a 1 Tbsp. or so of cider vinegar, and mixing in a bunch of sage flowers (if you need a recipe for herb jelly let me know). The jelly would go well with any roast meat, or you could use to make terrific turkey or chicken sandwiches.

As I was typing this, I remembered I had another edible flower book and just grabbed it off the shelf. It is Flower Cookery by Mary MacNicol. This is an interesting book in that it has lots of quotations and excerpts from other and much older books. Here's some of the entries on sage, and sage flowers:

"Sage who by many virtues gains't renown
Sage whose deserts all happy mortals own
Since thou, dear Sage, preserv'st the memory
I cannot sure forgetful prove of thee" -- Abraham Cowley

"SAGE WATER. Take sage flowers, sprinkle them with white wine, or water. Let them stand awhile. Then distil them." Joseph Cooper, Receipt Book, 1654

"CONSERVE OF SAGE. Take new flowers of Sage one pound, Sugar one pound; so beat them together very small in a Marble Mortar, put them in a vessel well glased and steeped, set them in the Sun, stir them dayly; it will last one year." The Queen's Closet Opened, By W.N., Cook to Queen Henrietta Maria, 1655

"Decorate tomato salad with sage blossoms."

Actually (this is me again, not the book), that last quote made me think of another good way to use sage flowers. If you have access to ripe tomatoes, you can make a sage flower, tomato, and mustard tart. To do this, make pie crust, using for the fat 2 parts butter to 1 part shortening, and blend in chopped sage flowers. Let chill, roll out, and line tart pan with removable bottom. Bake crust 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spread crust with good layer of dijon mustard. Cover with layer of grated gruyere cheese. Cover with layer of thickly sliced fresh ripe tomatoes of the best quality. Sprinkle with lots of coarsly chopped sage blossoms, grate pepper over, salt, and finish by sprinkling olive oil over the top of everything. Bake until tomatoes are hot and cheese is melted. MMMMM. I could reduce this to standard recipe form if anyone wants it; it is something I make regularly when I have access to tomatoes, and use whatever fresh herb is most handy. I've done it with basil, oregano, sage, and a combination of all. I like sage best, and the sage flowers would really make it look nice. This is easy and good.

Tonight for dinner I made a sage-heavy dish that would also be good with sage flowers. It's my take on Tuscan white beans, and is really easy, and filling. Drain and rinse two cans of Cannelini Beans, mix with 8 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tbsp. dried sage or 3-4 Tbsp. sage flowers, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake in 13x9" pan at 450F for 20 minutes. Mix in 2 cans of white tuna drained, and juice of 1 large lemon. Add additional olive oil if necessary, and bake 5 more minutes. Don't stint on the sage, it really makes this dish taste terrific. Serve with crusty bread, feta cheese, and a crisp green salad. Like I said, easy and delicious.

From: Larry Willey <LWilley836.AOL.COM>

Thank you all for the input on sage flowers :-). I can't wait to try some of the recipes! I did try making a tossed green salad with sage flowers and nastertium flowers in it and my wife was VERY impressed. It was very pleasing to both the eye and the palate. I'll try making an herb vinegar of the flowers for use in the winter. Decorative things that you can eat are especially good.

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