The Sage is at its peak in my yard, just starting to bloom. This is when it is at its most potent, so you want to harvest it now. It's very difficult, because it is so beautiful, you want to keep it and enjoy it just where it is. I will save seeds from my other sage bush, because I start a few new plants every year, and remove old ones after a few years.
When preparing bundles, take off the top few leaves, so they have good air circulation, and you don't have to worry about any mold. Remove any leaves that are brown or eaten. Use a good quality rubber band to keep them together. I just use push pins, to hang them from my pergola, where they will be out of direct sunlight. They should be dried and ready to store in about 2 weeks.
All those leftover leaves won't go to waste. I will sprinkle them around my new seedlings to help ward off pests like earwigs. Somehow they stay clear because they don't like to strong scent. This is a good way to use up any left over dried herbs from last year also. Sprinkle a little each evening.
Another great place to dry your herbs is to set up your screened in tent that your normally only use around a picnic table when out camping. Now you have another great use for it. Set it up in your yard, and hang the herbs to dry inside.
And if you can't do that, you can always hang them in a large paper bag, where they will stay dry and out of direct sunlight, maybe under your patio umbrella. Or even try putting the bag in your car for quick drying, keep an eye on them, as if it is really hot, they could dry up really quick. Experiment and have fun.
Beside great in cooking, Salvia officinalis has wonderful Medicinal Properties:
Sage is especially useful for thin copius mucus that occurs after eating dairy or a bout of the cold. It strenghtens and tones the digestive system while eliminating excess mucus. Also useful as a gargle for sore throats, when mixed with honey and a slice of lemon.
If you live locally and your interested in learning more about herbs, I highly recommend the herb classes given by Darren Huckle at Common Ground in Palo Alto
We learned how to make a herbal salve
Finally...........Sun, so I am infusing Arnica, Calendula, St John's Wort, and Self-Heal in Olive Oil, outdoors in the sunshine. After about 3 weeks, I will strain it, then melt some grated bee's wax in it, and I will have enough Amazing Sore Muscle Salve to last me a few months. Great for my arthritis.
Sage update - May 14
The sage is dry when you break the stem and it snaps. I like to use a big bowl, and wear disposable gloves to protect my hands....this could be rough. Hold each stem by the tip, and run your fingers down to remove the flowers and leaves from the woody stem.
When done, you are left with a large pile of woody stems for the compost, and some fragrant dried sage for storage.
I will use my sage in a relaxation herbal bath, combined with dried Rosemary, basil, thyme, and lavender flower. Add the herbs to a muslin bag, add to a quart size mason jar, and fill with boiling water, then cover and infuse for at least 1/2 hour. Pour the infused water along with the muslin bag of herbs into your bath water......and relax.
UPDATE: May 28
These sage blooms are now pretty dried up, I'm going to prune it back, and put all the cuttings in a paper bag, and save the seeds for future plantings.