Sage is easily one of the hardiest herbs to grow in the backyard garden or container. It’s lovely shape and scent help to keep pests out of the garden and provide the grower with a delicious herb to use in a variety of ways.
Growing sage is quite easy no matter the space and once it’s filled out with leaves, many gardeners want to hang on to that flavor for as long as possible. So, how can a sage lover preserve sage to use year-round? Drying sage, also known as rubbed sage, is super easy and will give you rich sage flavor all year long!
Growing Sage at Home
As I mentioned, sage is one of the easiest herbs to grow in the garden, and I have a few resources on my site all about growing sage plants at home. Here’s a full article on How to Plant, Grow, and Harvest Sage.
When I think about sage, I automatically think about Thanksgiving turkey, since this herb is a classic seasoning for this holiday bird. And the recipe that I use for our rotisserie turkey uses lots of delicious sage, and it’s a hit every year.
Growing sage at home and harvesting the leaves to dry lets you know exactly where your herbs are coming from and what they are treated with. Sage is an herb that is particularly susceptible to gray mold and other diseases, which means that commercially grown sage is treated with pesticides and fungicides. Knowing this encourages me to keep on growing sage at home and drying it here to avoid unnecessary exposure to fungicide residues.
Store Bought Sage
Can you use store bought fresh sage for drying? Absolutely! My recommendation, due to the fungicide issue I mentioned above would be to use organic sage from your local grocery store. You can usually find it packaged in small plastic containers in the produce section of the grocery store.
If you happen to have a friend who grows sage, they may have an abundance and might even share! Sharing is caring, right?
How to air dry sage
For air drying sage at home, there are several things you’ll need:
- Fresh sage still on the branches
- Paper bag
Tie up the ends of the sage stems/branches with twine. Place sage leaf end down inside the paper bag with the ends sticking out.
Use a rubber band to keep bag tied onto sage bundle. Hang the bagged sage in a cool, dark place for several weeks. You’ll know the sage is ready when a leaf easily crumbles when rubbed between fingers.
Rub sage leaves over parchment paper and then use as a funnel to place rubbed sage into a clean herb jar. (These jars are great to use!)
Oven drying sage
Here’s what you’ll need to oven dry sage:
- Fresh sage leaves
- Clean kitchen cloth
- Parchment paper (I like this Unbleached Parchment… it’s compostable, too!)
- Large baking sheet
- Begin by washing sage leaves and removing them from the stem. Place the leaves on a clean kitchen cloth to dry.
2. Preheat oven to 180 degrees, or your oven’s lowest temperature (mine is 180.) Place clean leaves on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and slide in the oven.
3. “Bake” the leaves until they are dry to the touch and easily crumble when rubbed. This only took one hour in my oven, but if your oven’s lowest temp is lower, then it may take longer.
4. Crumble leaves directly on the parchment paper, removing any leftover stems. Then use the parchment as a funnel to pour dried sage into a clean jar. Store in a cool, dry place.
How to dehydrate sage
Clean sage, as directed above. (No one wants to dry out soil, right?) Place clean leaves in a single layer in your dehydrator.
Follow your model’s recommended instructions for timing and temperature. I have an Instant Pot Vortex Plus, which an air fryer, oven, rotisserie, and dehydrator all in one. My model calls for 8-10 hours for drying herbs. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m hoping to with another batch.