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Tips for Growing & Using Sage

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My mom is a great gardener and has been such a huge help to me. I love it when she stops by occasionally and walks through the flower beds to help me sort out the weeds from the flowers. I apparently have a really hard time with this – some of my “favorites” turned out to be weeds! LOL.

I was so happy when she told me that this plant that I suspected to be a weed was actually a Sage plant! I’ve heard (via Pinterest) that Sage is supposed to repel mosquitoes when you put it in a bonfire so for that reason alone I have been wanting to plant some. We get our fair share of mosquitos here in MN so I’m willing to try anything!!

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Other than that, however, I had little knowledge of how to care for Sage and what else I could use it for so that ended up being the first plant/herb I researched for the Garden Reference Book I’m creating for myself.

Here are a few things I learned. Feel free to share any tips or information you may have in the comments as well!!

Growing Sage Plants Outside:

  • Sage Plants need full sunshine at least 2-3 times a day;
  • They don’t need a lot of water – too much moisture will kill it; Sage does best in dry conditions and requires very little care (sounds like the perfect plant for me already!)
  • Good companion herbs to sage are Rosemary and Thyme because they have similar water and sun requirements;

Harvesting Fresh Sage for Use

  • Cut off the leaves with a scissors or pinch it off;
  • Sage is best used fresh but you can also freeze the leaves in a plastic bag or dry them;

How to Dry Sage

  • It is best to pick sage leaves for drying just before they flower;
  • Make sure the branches are dry and not wet;
  • Tie the branches loosely in a bunch and hang them upside down in a cool, dry place out of sunlight;
  • Store dried sage in an airtight bottle or container out of sunlight; Dried sage lasts indefinitely;

Harvesting Sage Plants in the Fall

  • Prune off the old branches to about half their size and allow them to go dormant; they will revive in the Spring;
  • Some sites also suggested mulching around the base of the plants with leaves or straw; Our garden has hasn’t been tended for several years so I’m thinking this isn’t always needed;

Here are some great Uses for Sage that I found on Pinterest and plan to try:

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Fire Starter / Mosquito Repellant

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Pear and Sage Stuffed Chicken Breast with a Hazelnut Crust

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Shredded Beef

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Slow Cooker Chicken with Sage and Stuffing

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This Post Featured at:

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House of Rose Blog

Linking to:

Transformation Thursday @ The Shabby Creek Cottage
Linky Party @ Liz Marie Blog
Give me the Goods Monday @ Rain on a Tin Roof


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“Spring” in Northern Minnesota

As I write this post I look longing out my bay window at my garden, which is currently only visible by about a foot of fencing that has not been completely swallowed up by our record snow fall this “spring.” I should be used to it by now, I’ve lived in Northern Minnesota, Duluth to be exact, for over ten years now, but as a transplant I still foolishly believe that “spring” will mean budding trees and new growth greens, silly me! Okay so enough belly aching, onto the reason for this post.

To help me look to greener pasture ahead, I always start my tomato plants from seed in February. Tomatoes are my favorite plants to grow because of their utility for canning and preserving. Modern day homesteading is a passion of mine, and nothing gives me more pleasure than canning the finished product in September that I have begun indoors in February.

I have had many requests from family and friends for my tomato sauce recipe which my family uses universally for spaghetti, lasagna, pizza sauce and marinara. Below is the recipe that I got from my mother in law that was given to her from a friend whose family immigrated from Italy. The recipe was written for canned tomatoes, I use garden fresh so conversion can sometimes be a little tricky but I just guesstimate. I use a combination of different tomatoes for a full bodied flavor but my favorite types for sauce and salsas are the roma tomato as they are meatier with less water content. Other types may have to cook down a little longer, but no worries, it is always worth it in the end! Last year I grew black tomatoes for the first time and really appreciated their smokier flavor in the sauces.

Okay here is the homemade spaghetti sauce recipe, it calls for 2 large cans of whole tomatoes but I use fresh, which for his last batch was a mixture of roma and beefsteak tomatoes so I just kind of eyeball how much I think two large cans would be.  Even when using fresh tomatoes I still use the tomato paste in a can though because it makes it less watery.  Okay here you go, hope you enjoy it as much as we do and maybe even can and freeze it for all year long.  Apologies for picture quality, at the time I took it, I wasn’t intending to share it with anyone other than my mom and sisters:)  ~Mic

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*1st sauté the onion and 2 cans tomato paste in the olive oil for a few minutes.  Then I use the food processor to puree the tomatoes and throw everything into a big pot and let it simmer for about an hour or so.  Let me know if you have any questions and how you liked it!

1/2 chopped onion

2 large cans whole tomatoes

2 small cans tomato paste

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 1/2 tea. salt

2 1/2 tea. pepper

2 tbls grate romano parm cheese ( I don’t add this if I don’t have it and still fine)

2 tabls olive oil

2 tea parsley

2 tea basil (fresh if you have it)

4 tea. oregano

4 bay leaves

2 tea. italian seasoning

1/4 red pepper ( I don’t always use this)

sugar ( to your taste)