Got a bunch of sage and want to know how to dry it out? Here is a super quick and easy method to take you through the oven drying process for sage!
About the sage plant
Sage, the aromatic herb, also known as Salvia Officinalis is well known for its culinary purposes, and also for its health benefits and use in spiritual ceremonies and rituals. It’s home is the mediterranean regions of the world, and is part of the mint family.
Because it is one of many perennial herbs, once planted, it will grow back every year, which makes the planting of garden sage an excellent time and energy investment.
The essential oils produced by the sage plant are known to support the healing of wounds, and to help combat inflammation and even support cognitive function! (source) So, needless to say, the sage plant is revered for a good reason.
Uses for Dried Sage
Dried sage has many uses and is a very versatile herb. The first, and most well known is for cooking. Sage has a pungent flavour and is often used to flavour fatty meats (especially roast pork and sausages) and poultry. It also goes well with dairy and is often used to flavour butter or honey!
Outside of the kitchen, sage can also be assembled into sage bundles, which can be used as smudge sticks in spiritual practices. This smudging is a type of physical cleansing, as sage is known to be antimicrobial. The burning of sage introduces those antimicrobial properties into the air, acting as a type of air purifier. (Amazing, right?!)
From a spiritual perspective, the abilities of sage on the physical plane points to its use as a tool to do similar on the spiritual plane. Smudging, or the practice of burning sage is a ritual whereby the energies within and around an individual are cleansed and balanced, creating a hospitable space for Spirit connection.
This practice is very sacred to the indigenous communities. History also shows the use of sage as a healing and spiritual tool going back to the time of the Egyptians!
How to harvest sage
If you are harvesting your own herbs from a plant that has been freshly grown that year, you will want to be cautious to not over harvest it, which will impede it’s ability to grow into the widespread 60cm plant that it has the potential to! Following that initial first year harvest, its fine to harvest a bunch, leaving just a few stalks so that it can regrow.
Seasonally, the best time to harvest your sage is before the sage plant starts to flower. By doing this, you are giving the plant maximal leaf production time.
Daily, the best time of day to harvest your sage is in the early morning when it is dry, before it gets hit with the heat of the midday direct sunlight.
When removing the actual leaves from the plant, small sprigs can be clipped off with garden scissors, or you can also just pinch off the leaves using your thumb and forefinger.
Supplies to dry out sage in the oven
Cookie sheet– any old baking sheet that will fit your sage will do! If you have lots, you might need to do a couple batches. On the bright side, your house will smell marvellous for that much longer.
Fresh herbs– fresh sage, procured from your garden (bonus, if so, because it’s organic that way) or from your local grocery store or market.
Conventional oven– to dry out the sage in
Silicone sheet (optional)– I love using silicone sheets when I’m cooking or baking in the oven because it ensures equal heat distribution, and also makes clean up easier. This one is awesome! I own 2 silicone sheets and am never going back to wax paper. (*knocks on wood*)
Parchment paper– to cover the cookie sheet, as a substitute for the silicone sheet
Method: How to dry out sage in the oven
1- Gather your fresh sage. Gathering your ingredient is the first step. If it’s got a bit of dirt on it, try to brush it off as opposes to washing it off. The manual pressing and application of excess water can cause some of the essential oils of the plant to escape, which we are trying to avoid.
2- Arrange the fresh leaves. Spread the individual leaves so there is a single layer of leaves covering the cookie sheet. It’s okay if they touch a bit, but you don’t want them to be crowded.
3- Set your oven to it’s lowest setting. This increases the drying time for the herb, however drying it out at the lowest setting will be the difference between your sage leaves being DRIED with enough heat and your sage leaves being COOKED or burned, because of too much heat.
4- Leave your drying leaves for 30 minutes. Leave the oven door cracked open (which will allow some heat to escape, preventing the oven from getting getting filled with high temperatures. The open door also helps with air circulation). At the 30 minute point, take the baking sheet out, flip the leaves over (or rotate them with a wooden spoon) ,and put them back in for another 15 minutes of drying time. This 2nd part is an important step in ensuring that the dry sage leaves are dried out evenly.
5- Take out the baking sheet and leave it to cool somewhere safe. At this point, the leaves should be completely dry to the touch, and have changed from their initial color to a dull green color. They will also be a more delicate, crispy dry, cracking and breaking easily when pressure is applied to them.
6- Place herbs in an airtight container. (This glass one is cute!)
Tips for storing dried sage
It is important that dried sage be stored in an airtight container at room temperature in a dark place and dry location to preserve its freshness. Placing the dried leaves in areas of high humidity could result in moisture getting into the container, potentially leading to contamination and the growth of mold.
After removing the dried herb from the oven in step 5 of the process outlined above, the sage will be in it’s full leaf form. At this point, if you would like your sage leaves whole, they can be placed into their container as they are. If you would like them crushed, you can remove the whole stems, place them into a large bowl, and then use your fingers to crunch them into small pieces.
Alternatively, you can put them into a food processor and blitz them a couple times, and then pour them into your receptacle using a funnel.
Drying sage is such an easy way to have some natural healing on hand, as well as to be able to make your own smudging bundles and to flavour your food in a natural and delicious way.
For me, learning to dry herbs was the easiest way for me to jump into the ocean of home food preservation.
The whole process is mostly hands off, making it simple and easy to do, even for the busiest folks out there.
Do you grow sage in your herb garden? I love it on turkey, and also keep a dried bundle on my altar for smudging.
What is your favourite way to use sage? Let me know in the comments below!
Free “sage” storage container labels
What is the best way to dry fresh sage?
Drying sage in the oven is one of several methods. It can also be dried in the microwave (The best way to dry sage if you need your sage dried very quickly), in a dehydrator (The best way to dry sage if you want to be able to have it dried out without tending to it. This takes several hours, however, and uses electricity), or by hanging it in a dry place (The best way to dry sage if you want to preserve the sage’s nutrients and save on power consumption.).
What temperature does sage dry at?
If drying sage in your conventional oven, you’ll want to set it at the oven’s lowest setting. Typically, the lowest setting for an oven is around 170 degrees Fahrenheit, so the door will need to be left slightly open to prevent the sage from burning.
If drying sage in your dehydrator, the sage will dry out at between 95 and 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
How long do I dry sage in the oven?
Typically, sage will take between 30-40 minutes to dry, depending on the size of the leaves and whether or not they have water on them. After 30 minutes, the sage can be checked to see if it is adequately dried. If not, this is also the point to rotate the sage leaves to dry out the other sides.
How do you dry and harvest sage?
The best time of day to harvest sage is in the morning, after the dew has dried off the leaves, and also before the heat of the sun has hit strong. Leaves can be pinched off of the sage plant with the thumb and forefinger, or garden shears can be used to cut off the desired parts for drying. To dry sage, put it in on a baking sheet in the oven with the door open, with the oven set to it’s lowest setting. After 30 minutes, remove the sage, rotate it and dry it for another ten minutes. Alternately, fresh sage can be hung in a dry place to dry, placed in a dehydrator at 95-115 degrees Fahrenheit, or placed between paper towels in the microwave (cooked for 15 seconds at a time, and then removed once the leaves are crunchy and completely dry).
Aja Celeste is a mom to 6 beautiful children and a twin mom! She is also creator and writer of That Zoi Life and a professionally trained Evolutionary Astrologer who has been doing astrology for 7 years. She is also a health care assistant, has a Bachelor of Ministry Degree, and is passionate about supporting people in conscious parenting. She also does Psychosomatics using Recall Healing.
Please contact her at [info@ThatZoiLife.com] if you would like to find out more about working with her.