Pineapple Sage: Hummingbirds and Herbal Flowered Persimmon Goat Cheese
Written and Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor
Roll out the red carpet for pineapple sage, flaunting their cherry-red bilabiate flowers atop slender racemes. Numerous pollinators flock to their 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 their tubular corolla. Pineapple Sage 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, it browns and withers, unaccustomed to its touch, as they herald from the southern lands of Mexico and Guatemala.
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 its human adorers in colder areas offer the plant refuge in their home or greenhouse over the winter, planting it back outside in the spring after the danger of frost has past.
Purple Sage's flowers are edible and its 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 the blossoms are beautiful; try on these fancy-pants ice cubes to gussy up your favorite herbal iced teas.
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.
Meet The Green Mastermind Behind Blog Castanea:
JULIET BLANKESPOOR is the founder, primary instructor, and Creative Director of the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine, an online school serving thousands of students from around the globe. She's a professional plant-human matchmaker and bonafide plant geek, with a degree in botany and over 30 years of experience teaching and writing about herbalism, medicine making, and organic herb cultivation. Juliet’s lifelong captivation with medicinal weeds and herb gardening has birthed many botanical enterprises over the decades, including an herbal nursery and a farm-to-apothecary herbal products business.
These days, she channels her botanical obsession through her writing and photography in her online programs, on her personal blog Castanea, and in her new book, The Healing Garden: Cultivating and Handcrafting Herbal Remedies. Juliet and her family reside in a home overrun with houseplants and books in Asheville, North Carolina.
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9 thoughts on “Pineapple Sage – Hummingbirds and Herbal Flowered Persimmon Goat Cheese”
Therese Löfgren says:
I really love the scent of pineapple sage leaves! Lifts my spirits!
How about their medicinal qualities? Traditional uses in Mexico, Guatemala?
I do not speak Spanish or I would google and check it out myself.
Christine Borosh says:
I looked in a few book sources and online, but wasn’t able to find any reputable information about the traditional uses of pineapple sage. I bet it has been used medicinally in its native region though! I typically use the leaves and flowers as a lovely beverage tea and definitely sense its uplifting energy as well.
Can u cut back an cover during frost season have no where to put in house where there is sun
Juliet Blankespoor says:
The roots are somewhat frost sensitive, maybe to 20 degrees F. If you only get light frosts, you could cover and it may survive.
Lee Ann Foster says:
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
Juliet Blankespoor says:
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…
Ashley Sue @AshleySue says:
Hehahe I love the part about freaking out. It’s like we’re sisters. And our families can relate. 😀
This sounds amazing and looks beautiful! I cannot wait to make this happen!
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…
Christine @ these light footsteps says:
Oh wow, looks so delicious! I just may have to try this!