With its hot red coloured flowers it should come as no surprise that pineapple sage hails from Mexico and Guatemala. It really does smell and taste of pineapple! It attracts butterflies. It looks striking set amongst greenery. And it’s easy to grow.
Whip a piece off a plant and stick it in the ground, and it will most likely survive and flourish You can help that along by cutting a ‘heel’ and dipping it in hormone rooting powder first of course. Or simply put cuttings in water and wait until they throw off small roots before planting, just as you do with mint. Once it is established, it needs little attention and will grow to fill a gap in the garden. If it gets too leggy, cut it down and it will grow back. And it will grow babies!
Both the leaves and flowers of the plant are edible
Try crushed leaves and flowers under the skin of a chicken, smother skin with butter and roast, basting often with stock, until golden and cooked through.
Also, use to garnish summer drinks, alcoholic or not; the whiff of citrusy pineapple is glorious. If you like herbal teas, pineapple sage is glorious in tea, and looks pretty too, in a see-though glass teapot.
You can also crystallise the flowers, well, that’s if you‘ve nothing better to do!
Flowers can be scattered over salads and desserts. Try a handful over a snow-white pavlova for the festive table, or on top of a kumara salad to go with a glazed ham.
After picking the flowers, soak them briefly in cold water to ensure there are no ants, shake dry, gently roll in paper towels, and away you go. Picked and washed flowers will keep a few days refrigerated in an unsealed plastic bag lined with fresh paper towels.
Pineapple sage will soon grow to fill a gap in the garden.