Pineapple Sage; Growing, Harvesting, and Using

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I’ve had Pineapple Sage growing in my garden for two years and have finally gotten around to harvesting it! I’ve appreciated that it has grown enthusiastically and has produced beautiful flowers, but I haven’t thought of anything off the top of my head that I NEED to add a Pineappley flavor to. So, instead of waiting for inspiration to strike, I finally have done some research and learned what to do with this delectable smelling herb.

But first, a quick Pineapple Sage primer

This fragrant herb is native to Central & Southern America. It is considered a tender Perennial, meaning that it will happily overwinter in warmer climates, but needs to be brought inside overwinter, babied by planting strategically & mulching, or grown as an annual in colder climates. I have found that it grows very well as a perennial with minimum TLC in our zone 7/6b. I have it growing against a concrete wall on the south side of our house to block any wind that might strip the leaves off. Here it reaches 4-5 feet tall, but in less suitable climates or in a pot it will not grow as high. Consider planting this in an area you frequent because it releases a glorious Pineapple scent when you brush against it and produces beautiful tropical red flowers that are also edible. If you just can’t get enough Pineapple Sage, most gardeners say that this is best propagated from cuttings.

Medicinally Pineapple Sage has been used to treat indigestion and heartburn. A 2009 study suggests that common sage may assist in the digestion of meat products. Traditional Mexican medicine also uses Pineapple Sage to treat anxiety, depression, and level out blood sugar. (ramblingtart.com)

How to harvest Pineapple Sage

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I used some scissors to trim back my Pineapple Sage bush a few feet on each side and ended up with a huge armful of sage. I also ended up with an armful of creepy bright green beetles that were covering my plant. I learned my lesson quickly and left the sage out on the porch instead of bringing all the bugs in the house. To harvest, I had my two year old help me pick the leaves off the branches and put them in a strainer then rinsed them under the sink. I dehydrated them in my Excalibur dehydrator overnight and have them stored in Mason Jars in my pantry. Some sites claim that it’s flavor intensifies as it dries and others claim that drying it makes it lose its fruity flavor. I guess I will have to experiment with it .

What to Use Pineapple Sage for?

I found many relatively similar ideas for using Pineapple Sage when I searched online, so I have distilled the many ideas into some guidelines to give you some inspiration when you are up to your knees in sage leaves. Pineapple Sage is a relatively mild herb, so I would suggest using it larger quantities than you would use other more potent herbs.

– As a general rule, Pineapple Sage is best in light and fruity things. It makes an excellent addition to desserts such as ice cream and fruit salads.

Pineapple Sage can be used as a flavoring for chicken, pork, and fish. I made a delicious Pineapple Chicken using frozen pineapple, pineapple sage, Turmeric, a bit of maple syrup, and sautéed onions as a counterpoint. My husband was skeptical at first, but the first bite had him convinced! I did not find anyone else using this more delicate herb for red meat, and just can’t picture Pineapple flavored venison, so I believe I will be skipping that and sticking with the white meat when getting my Pineapple fix.

Pineapple Sage can be added to cream cheese. Let me know if you try this one; I am very allergic to Milk & milk products and will not be doing this myself, but I would love to hear your experience!

Make herbal sugar; layer leaves in sugar & let them sit to infuse them with the flavor. I did this & it definitely has a fruity aroma. I need to test it on my husband and see if he notices anything different or likes it more than the plain sugar.

– Some sites suggested using Pineapple Sage as an addition to syrups. They also suggested making it into jelly. I am not looking to get more sugar into our diet (the opposite actually!) so I won’t be doing this, but it could be a good option if you enjoy more delicate jellies.

And there you have it; some fun ideas to make your cooking more exciting. Leave a comment to share how you have used your Pineapple Sage and please share if you found this interesting or helpful!

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