The ripe scent of pineapple can stimulate memories that whisk you away to a tropical beach where tranquil breezes caress your skin and white trimmed turquoise waves lap along the edges of pallid sand.
You’ll be happy to know that you can awaken those same senses and tantalize your taste buds with pineapple sage, an edible plant that mirrors the citrus flavor of the fresh fruit. For the last two years this herb has decorated the corner of my deck, delighting hummingbirds with its scarlet flower petals. I was pleasantly surprised when I found new growth sprouting from the middle of the dead winter stalks this past spring and it’s grown into a three-foot beauty.
Native to Mexico pineapple sage has a sweet fruity scent compared to the mustier scent of its cousin, sage, which I also use regularly. It has soft hairy lime green leaves that are lightly toothed and supported by reddish stems. It blooms in late summer into autumn and attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Pineapple sage is a big, bushy, and beautiful plant that requires more water than other herbs, so give it plenty of space.
You’ll enjoy the versatility of pineapple sage in sweet and savory dishes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert meals. It dresses up breads, jelly, honey, chicken, pork, ham, cantaloupe, and serves as a substitute in stuffing rather than regular sage. I’ve also muddled it into cocktails, used the elongated leaves as a colorful garnish, and utilized the bright greenery as an environmental background for food photos.
I’ve found pineapple sage is best used fresh as every time I dry the leaves they lose the pungent pineapple scent. It pairs beautifully with other citrus herbs, such as lemon verbena (another fave of mine), and scented geraniums like lime and lemon.
7 Ways To Use Pineapple Sage In Your Kitchen
1. Muddle sugar and pineapple leaves together. Puree fresh pineapple and add to glass. Pour into champagne flute or glass of choice and top with Prosecco, like this one – Gelisi Antonio 2009 – Mild aromas of citrus water with a crisp, dryish light-to-medium body and a tart lemon and starfruit finish.
2. Chop leaves into flour to coat pork or chicken before frying or baking
3. Add fresh snippets to a glass of Pinot Grigio.
4. Cover the outside of your next baked ham with the leaves along with fresh pineapple to get a double citrus impact
5. Layer pineapple sage leaves on the bottom of a bundt cake pan, pour batter over and bake, or chop leaves finely into cake batter (excellent in a pound cake)
6. Make a simple syrup for cocktails by bringing 1 Cup of water and 1 Cup of sugar to a boil until sugar dissolves. Then remove from heat and add fresh pineapple sage leaves in to steep. Add in 1 tbsp. of Amaretto and it’s a delicious syrup for pancakes and waffles! Allow to cool and store up to one month in the refrigerator.
7. Great added to a marinade for chicken and pork like this one:
Spicy Fruit And Herb Boston Pork Roast
1 – 4 lb. Boston Pork Butt Roast
1 tbsp. coriander
1 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 C brown sugar (light or dark)
1 medium onion sliced in thick wedges
zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 C apple juice
1 Raspberry Wheat Beer
2 C pineapple sage leaves (rub the leaves to activate the oils and aromas)
Spray the bottom and sides of a Dutch oven or deep roasting pan with a top. Rinse roast and place in pan.
Rub dry ingredients into all sides of meat. Add onion. Then pour in liquids. Put sage around and on top of pork. Put top on pan and bake for approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into the largest part of roast reaches 160 to 180 degrees. Ovens vary and mine tends to cook things quicker than others so judge accordingly.
Meat should be tender and able to be pulled apart with a fork.
Here’s a few wine pairing ideas for this dish:
Riesling – semi sweet with peach and citrus notes such as Dr. Thanisch Riesling Classic 2009 or Lucien Albrecht Reserve 2010
Gewürztraminer (guh-VURTS-trah-mee-ner): A dry aromatic wine with a tangerine, white peach nose, and lychee flavor.