It might sound intimidating to new gardeners, but harvesting sage is easy. In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how to harvest and store your garden fresh sage.
Sage is a staple in my herb garden. It’s easy to grow from seed, super low maintenance, and adds a great contrast of color to my garden.
In fact, there are so many gorgeous varieties of sage out there, I’ve even started mixing it into my decorative summer containers! It’s my new favorite plant.
When to harvest sage
One of the things of love the most about growing fresh herbs like sage in my garden is that they can be harvested all summer long.
You can pinch off the leaves of your sage plant anytime you need to use some for cooking. So, whenever a recipe calls for sage, I can just walk out the back door and harvest as much as I need.
Tips for harvesting sage
To harvest your sage, simply pinch off the leaves along the stem. Pinching off the leaves will encourage new growth, and give you a continuous harvest all summer long.
If you want to keep your sage plants bushy, pinch off the growth at the top rather than the leaves along the side. New leaves and stems will branch out from the spot you pinched. I like to alternate these techniques when I harvest my sage.
When cold weather arrives, you might want to harvest all of your sage. In that case, you can cut off entire branches, or harvest the whole plant at once by cutting it off at the base, or pulling it out of the ground if you prefer.
As you’re harvesting sage, select only the healthiest looking leaves to keep. Discard any leaves that are yellow or brown. Mildew isn’t usually a huge problem with sage, but it can happen. So discard those leaves too.
Cleaning freshly harvested sage leaves
Most of the time, I don’t bother cleaning my sage leaves because they aren’t usually dirty. But sometimes, dirt splashes up on the leaves so they need to be cleaned before I can store them.
After harvesting sage, simply rinse the leaves with water, or swoosh them around in a bowl of water for a few seconds to get the dirt off.
Be sure the sage leaves are dry after rinsing, or they can turn brown pretty quickly. I use my salad spinner (an essential tool for every gardener who grows herbs!) to spin them dry.
Storing your sage harvest
The best way to store sage for winter use is either by freezing it or drying it. Both methods are super easy.
Freezing sage leaves – Freezing your sage will help to maintain the flavor longer, and doesn’t take much time. I simply toss my fresh sage leaves into a baggie, and put them into the freezer.
If you prefer, you can flash freeze the leaves first, which will help keep them from freezing together. Simply lay the leaves out on a cookie sheet, and put them into the freezer for 10-20 minutes before storing them in a freezer safe container or baggie.
If you harvested whole stems or the entire plant, then you can hang it to dry instead. Once I’m done harvesting sage, and the leaves are clean and dry, I tie the stems together and simply hang the whole bundle upside down. It takes longer to dry sage this way, but it looks cute, and I can continue to harvest from it as I need to. It’s super convenient hanging right in my kitchen.
Sage is a must for every herb garden! There’s nothing quite like harvesting sage fresh from the garden, and it’s very easy to grow. You can harvest it whenever you need it, and store some for winter use too!
More posts about growing herbs
- Growing Great Basil
- How to preserve your garden fresh herb harvests
- The 7 Best Herbs for Container Gardening
- Fertilizer for herb gardens and containers
Share your tips for harvesting sage in the comments section below.