And so it happens, Labor Day comes and goes and Mother Nature seems to know we are finished with our beach rentals; pool memberships are being considered again for next year, and everyone is back to work in earnest. Even my garden has gotten the note – cucumbers are petering out and the tomato branches are showing signs of exhaustion. However, it is the crimson display of my pineapple sage that signals the seasonal shift for me. All summer long this abundantly, aromatic garden sentinel perfumes my iced teas, and offers a bit of magic to my husk tomato pie. I have been seen just nuzzling up against it for a sweet smelling hit.
The profusion of flowers that erupts from it this time of year is a siren’s call to hummingbirds as well as myself. I guiltily snip the flower heads knowing I am stealing a beak full of nectar from a creature that is fueling up in order to successfully make it back to its winter home. But those darn flowers are so seductive –
I have tossed them into an evening’s salad along with nasturtiums, rose petals and Johnny Jump-ups for an ethereal first course and buried them in layers of sugar in an effort to preserve them. Since I cut the plant back before the first frost hits, and have it winter under an insulation of hay I have no need to allow the flowers to go to seed. It is tragic that summer must end for I would gladly live in a world where tomatoes are always ripening and cantaloupes engorge on their vine, but alas, life has it cycle, and what a beautiful way to signal a change.
Pineapple Sage Vinegar
2-cups pineapple sage flowers and leaves (you cannot use too much)
1-part white distilled vinegar
1-part rice vinegar
1-part coconut vinegar
In a clean glass jar place the pineapple sage, and pour over the vinegars. Cover with a tight fitting lid, and place in a cool, dark place for 6 to 8 weeks. Strain into a clean glass bottle with a tight fitting lid.