Rubbed Sage, also called garden sage or common sage, is a leaf that comes from a perennial sub-shrub in the mint family that has woody stems, greyish leaves and purple flowers. It is also referred to as Salvia officinalis. There are over 900 species of Salvia, making it the largest genus of the mint, or Lamiaceae, family.
Rubbed sage gets its name from the process that creates it. To get to the desired effect, the leaves of the plant must be rubbed between two objects, often simply someone’s hands, to separate them from the stems. The result is a fluffy, almost cotton-like substance that has a powerful flavor and a very fragrant aroma.
Sage is wildly popular in Greek and European food, but especially in Italian, English and German cuisines. In Britain, it is considered an essential ingredient to have in your kitchen, along with parsley, rosemary and thyme.
It has 1.5 to 3 percent volatile oil that has a yellow to yellowish green color, and it can be gathered from the leaves when fresh. Due to the plant breaking down, even more essential oil can be harvested from the dried variety. Its essential oil is comprised of mainly cineol, borneol, and alpha- and beta- thujone.
Other names for sage are Dalmation sage, English sage, garden sage, common sage, and true sage. In other langauges, sage is said very differently. Maryameya in Arabic, shao wei cao in Mandarin, sauge in French, salbei in German, bhuli tulsi in Hindi, seji in Japanese, salva in Portuguese, shalfej in Russian and salvia in Spanish are some of the ways sage is otherwise named.
What Does Rubbed Sage Taste Like?
Sage possesses a robust savory and peppery flavor so it is best partnered with other strong flavors like garlic and onion. It is earthy and warm.
Substitutions and Conversions
For handy sage conversions use: 1 tablespoon chopped sage = 1 teaspoon dried sage and 12 sage leaves = 1 teaspoon dried sage.