7 Ways to Cook with Pineapple Sage, a Pork Recipe and Wine Pairing
The ripe scent of pineapple can stimulate memories that transport you to a tropical beach where calm breezes caress your skin and white-fringed turquoise waves lap the edges of the pale sand.
You’ll be glad to know that you can awaken those same senses and tantalize your taste buds with pineapple sage, an edible plant that reflects the citrus flavor of fresh fruit. For the past two years this herb has decorated the corner of my terrace, delighting hummingbirds with its scarlet flower petals. I was pleasantly surprised when I found new growth sprouting from the middle of the dead winter stems last spring and it grew to a three foot beauty.
Pineapple sage, native to Mexico, has a sweet, fruity scent compared to the musty scent of its cousin, sage, which I also use regularly. It has soft, hairy, lime-green leaves that are slightly toothed and supported by reddish stems. It blooms in late summer through fall and attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Pineapple sage is a large, bushy, 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 desserts. Dress breads, jam, honey, chicken, pork, ham, melon and serve as a substitute in the filling instead of normal sage. I’ve also mixed it into cocktails, used the oblong leaves as a colorful garnish, and used the bright greenery as an ambient background for food photos.
I have found that pineapple sage is best used fresh as each time I dry the leaves they lose the pungent smell of pineapple. It blends beautifully with other citrusy herbs, like lemon verbena (another favorite of mine) and scented geraniums like lemon and lime.
7 Ways To Use Pineapple Sage In Your Cooking
1. Crush the sugar and pineapple leaves. Puree fresh pineapple and add it to the glass. Pour into a champagne flute or a glass of your choice and top with Prosecco, like this – Gelisi Antonio 2009 – Smooth aromas of citrus water with a light to medium crisp dry body and a tart finish of lemon and star fruit.
2. Chop leaves in flour to coat pork or chicken before frying or baking
3. Add fresh bits to a glass of Pinot Grigio.
4. Top the outside of your next baked ham with the leaves along with fresh pineapple for a double citrus punch.
5. Place pineapple and sage leaves in the bottom of a sponge cake pan, pour batter and bake, or finely chop the leaves into cake batter (great in a sponge cake).
6. Make a simple syrup for cocktails by boiling 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar until the sugar dissolves. Then remove from heat and add soaking fresh pineapple sage leaves. Add 1 tbsp. of Amaretto and it is a delicious syrup for pancakes and waffles! Let cool and store up to a month in the refrigerator.
7. Great addition to a chicken and pork marinade like this:
Spicy Boston Pork Roast with Fruits and Herbs
1 – 4 pounds Boston Pork Butt Roast
1 tablespoon. cilantro
1 tablespoon. cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
1 medium onion cut into thick wedges
zest and juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup apple juice
1 wheat and raspberry beer
2 cups pineapple sage leaves (rub leaves to activate oils and scents)
Spray bottom and sides of a Dutch oven or deep roasting pan with a lid. Rinse roast and place in skillet.
Rub the dry ingredients on all sides of the meat. Add the onion. Then stop in liquids. Put sage around and on top of the pig. Place the lid on the pan and bake for about 2 to 2 1/2 hours or until a meat thermometer inserted into the bulk of the roast reaches 160 to 180 degrees. Ovens vary and mine tends to cook things faster than others so judge accordingly.
The meat should be tender and pull apart with a fork.
Here are some wine pairing ideas for this dish:
riesling – semi-sweet with notes of peach and citrus like Dr. Thanisch Riesling Classic 2009 or Lucien Albrecht Reserve 2010
Gewürztraminer (guh-VURTS-trah-mee-ner): An aromatic dry wine flavored with mandarin orange, white peach, and lychee.