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What are these lollipops on my dried sage?  RSS feed

 
master steward
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We just noticed tiny white dots on the ends of the hairs of the sage leaves we dried last fall.  We're not sure if it's mold or if it's a natural essential oil or something.  Has anyone seen this before?
Sage-dots.jpg
[Thumbnail for Sage-dots.jpg]
 
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I'm just guessing here, but they may be eggs.  There are many species of insects that lay their eggs on a stalk or filament. I think the idea is to keep them dry and out of the way of predators.

The good news is that they are probably harmless.  The unfortunate news is that they are likely the eggs of a lacewing, a serious predator of aphids.  

From: here: https://www.whatsthatbug.com/2012/04/02/probably-lacewing-eggs

Insects in the order Neuroptera often lay eggs on stalks. The larvae of Lacewings are fierce predators known commonly as Aphid Wolves. It is believed that they have adapted to laying eggs on stalks to help reduce the possibility that hatchling Aphid Wolves will devour one another upon hatching.



Maybe...  maybe not.  
 
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My suspicion is it's a mold, but I have no idea what kind. Here's a picture of a white mold that has that "lollipop" look that, to me, resembles what may be on your sage. The image came from http://fermentationpodcast.com/five-questions-mold-food-safety/

 
Mike Jay
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That picture does look pretty close.  For a bit more background, we picked them in the late summer and dehydrated them right away.  Then they went into mason jars with lids.  They've been in the kitchen cupboard ever since in a dark place.  The dehydrator could allow bugs in but the lollipops just showed up in the last few weeks.

We dehydrated them in our solar dehydrator and sage is tougher to dry than other leaves.  Maybe we just need to put them through the electric Nesco dehydrator to make sure they're really dry...
 
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