The real sage (Salvia officinalis) is not only a well-known remedy, but is also used in the kitchen. Not only the leaves, but also the sage flowers are edible. But when will they appear?

Flower is purple in colour

The common sage flowers from the end of May to the end of August. Of course, the period of the sage blossom always depends on the weather. The inflorescences of the real sage usually appear in a bright blue-violet. Sometimes the color white to soft pink can also be represented. Typical features of the flower are

  • Flower stalks up to 70 cm high
  • Flowers lip-shaped
  • standing together in whorls
  • upper lip has two lobes
  • lower lip three lobes
  • each flower two stamens

Not all sage varieties form the flowers at the same time. There may be some discrepancies, for example

Pineapple sage ( Salvia elegans )

  • not hardy
  • Red color
  • Flowering: July to November

Johannisbeersalbei (Salvia microphylla)

  • not hardy
  • Colour: raspberry red
  • Flowering: July to October

Mehlsalbei ( Salvia farinacea )

  • frostempfindlich
  • Color: Blue, White
  • Flowering: June to October

Whorled sage (Salvia verticillata)

  • frosthart
  • Colour: purple-purple, rarely white
  • Flowering: May to September

Silverleaf Sage (Salvia argentea)

  • frosthart
  • Colour: white with a slight pink tinge
  • Flowering: August to September

Woodland sage, garden sage (Salvia nemorosa)

  • hardy
  • Color:Blue,Purple,White,Pink
  • Flowering: June to September
  • this requires pruning after the first flowering

Meadow sage (Salvia pratensis)

  • persevering
  • Colour: blue violet
  • Flowering: April to September
  • this requires pruning after the first flowering
Note: Small nut fruits are formed after the flowering period. These contain spherical seeds. They are usually dark brown to black in color.

Sage blossom is edible

Just like the leaves, the flower is also edible. It has a very mild taste with a slightly sweet aroma. Their use is diverse. It can not only be used to refine sweet or savory dishes, but is also ideal for the production of

  • Blossom butter, sugar or salt
  • sage wine and liqueur
  • sage blossom tea
  • Jams and preserves along with strawberries
  • flavored oils and vinegars
  • Refinement of soups, sauces and funds
  • decoration of dishes
  • Making potpourris

Harvest right

Most often, the young leaves and shoot tips of the 30 to 50 cm high common sage are harvested before the flowering period. The taste is most aromatic before flowering begins:

  • slightly bitter and spicy in taste
  • short flowering more intense
  • very high proportion of essential oils present
  • However, harvesting is also possible during and after flowering
  • then there is less aroma
  • Harvest flowers when open
  • should just be in full bloom

There are a few things to consider when harvesting. The best way to proceed is as follows:

  • shower off the bush in the afternoon before harvest
  • use a fine spray to do this
  • harvest later in the morning
  • Day should be sunny and warm
  • there will be no more morning dew
  • Flavor is then at its highest
Idea: Closed flower buds can also be used in the kitchen. Like capers, these are pickled in salt and herbal vinegar and used for additions to soups, sauces and stocks. This will require two cups of sage buds, half a teaspoon of salt and 125 ml of vinegar.

prevent flowering

The plant uses all its energy to form buds and flowers. As a result, the typical aroma in the leaves and shoots diminishes. If no flowering is desired, constant pinching is necessary. All young shoot tips (flowering bases) are regularly removed. It starts with the young plants. On the one hand, this stimulates the branching of the semi-shrub and, on the other hand, all the energy is put into the formation of the aroma and there is no flowering time.

Note: The sage flower is a popular food source for bees, bumblebees and other insects. There are also breeds such as sage ‘Non-Flower’, a leaf sage that does not form flowers.

possibilities of preservation

Normally, flowers and leaves should always be used fresh because of the taste. However, stocks can also be created for the cold season. For that there are different possibilities

  • Spread out on a baking sheet to dry in a dark, warm place
  • alternatively in the oven at 50 degrees
  • tied into bouquets hanging upside down to dry
  • freeze in tight containers
  • Flowers also mixed with other herbal flowers
  • alternatively freeze portions in ice cubes

frequently asked Questions

The leaves and sage blossom can still be harvested after the flowering period. Withered stems are then cut off to the ground. The shoots then have enough time until winter to fully mature to survive cold temperatures. Furthermore, the root area should be protected from frost and cold temperatures with straw, leaves or fir branches. In the spring, it is then cut back to the base.

Regular cutting of shoots prevents the shrub from becoming woody. Furthermore, the branching of the sage is stimulated. Unwanted efflorescence can also be prevented in this way. All you have to do is remove the young shoot tips.

Leaves and buds alike should simply be stripped off and then either dried or frozen. Otherwise the drying process could be unnecessarily prolonged. Incidentally, valuable ingredients would be lost. Furthermore, the aroma would suffer.

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