Chestnut Herbal School

Pineapple Sage - Hummingbirds and Herbal Flowered Persimmon Goat Cheese

Roll out the red carpet for pineapple sage, flaunting her cherry-red bilabiate flowers atop slender racemes. Numerous pollinators flock to her elegant flowering branches, seeking nutritious pollen, sipping nectar, and dutifully transferring pollen from anther to stigma. Pineapple sage’s entourage includes: butterflies, bees, ants and hummingbirds, whose penetrating beaks imbibe the precious nectar nestled deep in the recesses of her tubular corolla. She boldly flirts with frost, blooming long after most plants have sensibly finished with the business of flowering and fruiting. When pineapple sage does encounter the icy embrace of frost, she browns and withers, unaccustomed to his touch, as she heralds from the southern lands of Mexico and Guatemala.

My sweet Rose sporting her new-to-her camera (mama's retired camera) for the first time, she is so proud to be trusted with it, and Im so proud of her (how could I not be?)

Pineapple sage (Salvia elegans, Lamiaceae) is in the mint family, and very closely related (same genus) to garden sage, white sage and the ornamental bedding sages. It is a perennial shrub in warmer climates (zone 8 plus) and grown as an annual in temperate locales. Some of her human adorers in colder areas offer her refuge in their home or greenhouse over the winter, planting her back outside in the spring after the danger of frost has past.

Top image is Mexican Sage (Salvia leucantha) growing with pineapple sage, a handsome couple indeed

Her flowers are edible and her pineapple-scented leaves are used as a pungent culinary herb. The flowers have a sweet and savory flavor and can be used to adorn most any dish; try them on salads, cakes, and salsas. Ice cubes fashioned from her blossoms are beautiful; try on these fancy-pants ice cubes to gussy up your favorite herbal iced teas.

Sautéed puffball mushrooms with black sesame seeds and pineapple sage flower garnish

Herbal flowered persimmon goat cheese with calendula and pineapple sage flowers


Recipe for Herbal Flowered Persimmon Goat Cheese:

  • 8 ounces of soft goat cheese
  • 2 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • Handful of pineapple sage flowers, stripped from the stalk
  • Half handful of calendula “petals”
  • Kiss of honey and fresh wild persimmon pulp (peck, not smooch)

If you don’t have some of these ingredients on-hand, try freaking out. That always works out so well for me, and my family especially benefits. Alternately, you could use figs in lieu of the persimmon pulp, and any other edible flowers in place of the calendula and pineapple sage.

7 thoughts on “Pineapple Sage – Hummingbirds and Herbal Flowered Persimmon Goat Cheese

  1. I adore the way you speak of pineapple sage in this post – I’ve been enamored of late with this stunning keeper – in my garden as an annual in past years and now after your lovely essay – I’ll take a chance and bring “her” into my home. It has finally, ( the middle of October) pushed out flower buds – and I await ( less anxiously so after reading this) those cerise tubes so splendidly described here.
    Please can you tell me how best to take it indoors – after I harvest how much of the plant? Thank you Lee Ann in Vancouver BC

    • Lee Ann,
      Thank you! I do hope I have not misled you with my fanciful description – pineapple sage is very frost tender! I would wait until the fist frost is close at hand, and then cut the plant back to 8 inches – save the leaves and flowers to dry for tea and seasoning, and then pot up the root and put it in your sunniest window, Good luck, and keep us posted about your plant…

  2. I TOTALLY do the freaking out thing, and agree that it helps ;). Actually, sage helps…

    Love the goat cheese recipe; can’t wait to try it. Though I might have to sub my white sage flowers though they’re not nearly as pretty a colour…

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