Just another musty Mediterranean mint

Sage, another member of the mint family, is a perennial shrub that is indigenous to the Mediterranean coastal regions of southern Europe; today the best is said to come from Dalmatia, in Croatia, and garden sage is sometimes called Dalmatian sage. There are many varieties, but most have fuzzy green or greenish-gray leaves. Sage is one of the most aromatic of the Mediterranean herbs, with a warm, pungent fragrance and a fresh, strong, even somewhat medicinal taste. Its Latin name comes from the word salver, which means “to save” or “to heal,” and sage was prized for its medicinal properties for centuries before it became a favorite culinary herb. It was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and in the Middle Ages, tea made with sage was prescribed for many ills all around the Mediterranean; the Chinese were also enamored of Europe’s sage tea.
When sage is dried, its taste becomes, if anything, more concentrated. The more common form is “rubbed” sage, crumbled dried leaves, but it is also available ground; rubbed sage has more flavor and keeps its flavor longer. Bunches of dried Greek sage still on the stems can be found in some specialty markets. Sage is an essential seasoning in the stuffing for the Thanksgiving turkey, of course, and onions sautéed with sage are the base for many savory dishes. It goes well with fatty meats like pork, as well as with game such as duck and goose, and is often used to flavor sausages. Sage is also good in bean dishes and hearty soups and stews. It pairs well with other strong Mediterranean herbs such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, and bay, and it features in many herb blends. Sage Derby, a mild cow’s-milk cheese marbled with sage, is a favorite in England.