Monday, October 19, 2009

Wise Old Sage

This is what some other fortunate person's sage patch looks like -mine did look like this, until this summer (which shall be forever known as The-Summer-Of-the Dead-Garden).

However, I am lucky enough to have a friend who has tons of sage, and she was kind enough to cut me a grocery sack full a couple days ago.

For the various projects I had in mind, it needed to be processed while it was fresh.

First step: strip off the leaves and leaf clusters. I had enough for two large potfuls. This lot will be dried, a bit at a time, so that I have sage throughout the winter.

The stripped stems can be planted out in your garden to come up next year. Just lay them down and cover with a bit of dirt. Each segment will produce a new plant, leaf by leaf.

And this is the second pot -it was actually much darker green. This will be a sage rinse for my hair. Sage is great for dark hair, keeps it shiny, gives it body, and used over a period of weeks will cover any elusive gray hairs.

The rinse recipe is simple: strip the sage leaves (1/4 cup to 2 cups of water for a single batch) while bringing a pot of water to a boil. Add the leaves to the boiling water, remove from heat, and let steep until cool (for a pot's worth, this will be overnight). Then pour through a strainer, removing the leaves, and bottle the sage water. Keep it in a cool,dry place, and use once a week as a final rinse left-in rinse on hair.

The discarded leaves can go into the compost bucket or out into the garden.

Meanwhile, the first lot is drying, bit by bit in the oven. You can do this in your regular oven too. Lay the sage out in a thin layer, set on 250 degrees, and let it dry. Note: keep a close eye on your first batch, so you know how long *your* oven will take. According to the manual, this little oven was suppose to dry herbs in 16 hours. It actually only takes 35 minutes. Something probably got lost in the translation.

Make sure you have containers (airtight, clean and dry) ready and waiting. The sage is ready when it's a light gray, and crumbles easily.

This is one batch worth -it took 6 batches to fill the jar. The pot of sage water made 6 bottles of sage rinse, enough to share and still have enough for winter.

Finally, I kept a couple sprigs of sage and just stuck them in a glass of water. They've already started rooting and will make beautiful plants.

Then you can do this all over again next fall.

*For those with lighter fair hair, substitute fresh or dried chamomile flowers to make a rinse.

**To add red highlights to light or dark hair, substitute fresh or dried hibiscus flowers.


If possible, store your extra sage rinse in the back of the frig until needed. Since there are no chemicals or preservatives in it, after several weeks, mold will form and float on the top. that's just the impurities coming out. Use a q-tip to scoop it out - the liquid rinse underneath is absolutely safe to use.

Also - an idea from my friend The Damsel - put your rinse in a squeezeable plastic bottle (I bought a 97cent ketchup style bottle). That way you can squeeze a small amount on exactly where you need it (like roots maybe), and it goes much further. I love that idea, can't believe I didn't think of it myself!

1 comment:

  1. it's great to see more sage uses. I feel like I'm drowning in it!