Greek Sage: Cooking and Medicinal Info

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Sage, referred to as Faskomilo or φασκόμηλο in Greek, is one of those herbs that aren’t often associated with Greek cooking. However, it is used in some recipes, especially when it comes to flavoring meats and some soups. For example, on the island of Ikaria some use sage in their lentil soup to give the broth unique flavor. In Greece, you can find sage in markets in Greece in both the fresh and dried forms. People have also been known to burn the leaves as a deodorizer. Rosemary and thyme are often used as substitutes if no sage is available.

Where is Sage from in Greece?

Sage is an evergreen shrub that grows low to the ground. It is native to the Mediterranean Sea, including in Greece, and can mostly be found growing wild in coastal areas. It is also cultivated all over Greece in their gardens or in pots, which they keep on their balconies or patios. There are around twenty total subspecies of sage that grow well throughout the Mediterranean.

How Does Sage Taste?

Sage is one of those plants that have a distinct aroma. It’s slightly reminiscent of mint but with hints of evergreen mixed in. The flavor of it is also slightly sweet, but with a slight astringent quality. The dried herb has a stronger astringent flavor than the fresh so if bitter flavors bother you, consider using only the fresh plant.

What Greek Recipes Use Sage?

Loukanika, Hirines Brizoles, Artichoke and Fava Omelet

What are the Herbal Remedies for Sage?

Sage has a long history of use as a medicinal plant. It has a specific action on the digestive system and is used for upset stomachs and other digestive complaints. Because it has a slight bitter quality, it is also used to stimulate the appetite because it encourages the release of your body’s digestive enzymes. In Ancient Greece, Hippocrates used it for lung diseases and gynecological concerns. Dioscurides used it as a diuretic and to stop both internal and external bleeding.

Interesting Facts About Sage

In cooking, Sage is used in interesting was throughout Greece. It is most often used throughout Greece when making sausages. For example, on the island of Crete sage is burned as part of the smoking process while making smoked sausages, which imparts a sweet aroma into the meat.

Sources:

Wikipedia – Sage

WebMD – Sage

Many Greek recipes are different based on the region of Greece and family traditions, so uses of the herbs and spices contained on this page may vary. Also, GreekBoston.com does not provide medical advice and the information provided here is for informational purposes only. This isn’t a medical site, please consult with your physician. The medicinal health information is based on anecdotal evidence and Greek history.

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