Sage sets the stage for some good cooking and eating. Its pleasantly pungent, lemony flavor enhances many foods, including sausage, soups, breads, sauces and poultry stuffing.

Sage is a hardy perennial in the mint family. It has square, down-covered stems and grayish-green leaves with a pebbled, velvety texture.

The leaves can be used either fresh or dried. The dried leaves are slightly less lemony in flavor. Dried sage comes in crumbled leaves or crushed ground leaves (rubbed sage).

Sage makes a lovely garden plant and is easy to grow and dry. Put this herb to good use in your kitchen by trying these delicious sage specialties suggested by readers.

SAGE DRESSING

"This moist hearty stuffing is nicely seasoned with sausage, sage and fresh mushrooms," writes field editor Betty Sitzman from Wray, Colorado. "Sometimes I use it to stuff the bird…and other times I bake it separately."

SAGE BREADSTICKS

Sue Wagner of West Farmington, Ohio, an avid herb gardener, says, "Sage is subtle but wonderful in these cheesy crisp breadsticks. They're a fun snack or terrific served alongside a bowl of soup or a salad."

COUNTRY SAGE LOAVES

"Sage is my favorite seasoning, so I'm always pleased to fix and serve these rugged golden loaves," relates field editor Geraldine Grisdale of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. "They're crusty on the outside and chewy inside."