This member of the rose family is an evergreen perennial with ranks of toothed, oval leaves along the stalks. In summer, small heads of reddish flowers appear on long stalks - after flowering, remove.
Salad Burnet is such a hardy herb that in most mild winter areas it will continue to thrive all year long in you herb garden. Even in the most severe weather areas it is one of the first plants to come back in the spring.
This herb is grown for the cucumber flavor of its leaflets. Pick these off the stalk and chop for use. There is no cucumber smell, but the flavor is quite strong and can be used anywhere you would normally use its flavor taste alike. The tender, young leaves have the best flavor; they tend to get bitter as they mature.
Plucked whole and sprinkled on salads they add a refreshing taste. Try chopping the leaves and sprinkling them over fresh steamed veggies to add some zip. Salad Burnet also adds interest when used in vinegar, cheese spreads, in sauces for fish, salad dressings, and in combination with other herbs in casseroles and creamy soups. It blends well with tarragon and rosemary. In the summertime try adding whole leaves to iced drinks and punches for a decorative look and cooling taste.
Cultivation of Salad Burnet
Site: Salad burnet like sun or light shade - it needs about 6 hours of sun to do well. It prefers a non acid soil. In mild climates it will continue to grow into the winter months, and it comes back quickly in the spring.
Propagation: Sow the seeds in spring or autumn. Start indoors to give it a head start or direct seed after the last frost. Or purchase pot grown plants.
Growing: Transplant seedlings at one foot intervals in your herb garden. The leaves are low growing, but flower stalks may reach up to 2 feet. The first year it will reach 6 - 8 inches, and you can begin using the leaves when they are about 4 inches high. Cut flowering stems and old leaves regularly to produce plenty of tender young leaves.
Harvesting: Salad Burnet can be harvested early the first year. Pick young tender leaves whenever required.
Culinary Uses: This nutty and slightly sharp cucumber flavored herb is used as a garnish, in salads, herb butters and soft cheeses. It is also good sprinkled on vegetables. Add at the beginning of cooking to casseroles an creamy soups. Combine with other herbs well, especially rosemary and tarragon. You can also use salad burnet to flavor vinegar and salad dressings or give a cooling effect to summer drinks.