You will see in many places a recommendation not to use sage in home canned goods.
It’s not a safety issue, but a taste issue, reputedly.
Some say it causes bitterness; some say it causes bitterness after a period of storage.
Presto says, “…sage may cause a bitter off-flavour” 1
Bernardin says, “As a seasoning, avoid sage because it can become bitter during storage.” 2
The Putting Food By authors say, “Omit sage—it makes canned pork sausage bitter…” 3
A contrary voice
The University of Alaska, however, recommends sage for home canned fish.
“Each flavor combination was field tested by Master Volunteers in food preservation. Their comments are also given…. Sage — very good.” 4
Their recommendation is 1/2 teaspoon of sage per 1/2 US pint (1/4 litre) jar of fish being canned.
History of the recommendation
The recommendation against sage dates from at least 1936.
Headcheese may be made from a hog’s head, tongue, and heart, according to any good recipe but omitting the sage. Pack the headcheese hot into containers and process….. Follow any tested formula for preparing the sausage, but omit the sage for that gives the sausage a bitter flavor after processing.” 5
The recommendation was carried forward into the USDA’s 1945 “Home Canning of Meat” (AWI – 110). And then, brought forward as part of the amalgamation that was done in 1988 when the Complete Guide was compiled.
(Ground Meat instructions. In: Presto Pressure Canner and Cooker, 23 quart model, #72-719F. 2014. p 44 ↩
Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Bernardin Ltd. 2013, Page 100. ↩
Hertzberg, Ruth; Greene, Janet; Vaughan, Beatrice (2010-05-25). Putting Food By: Fifth Edition (p. 194). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. ↩
van Delden, Kari. Add Variety to Home-Canned Fish . University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. FNH-00224 . Revised April 2012. http://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/publications-db/catalog/hec/FNH-00224.pdf ↩
Stanley, Louise and Mabel C. Stienbarger. Home canning of fruits, vegetables and meats. USDA Farmer’s Bulletin No. 1762-F. September 1936. Page 36. Available at https://archive.org/details/CAT87205286 ↩