Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Salad Burnet -- Herb-of-the-Week

As is our tradition on every other Wednesday, we are posting the herb-of-the-week.  In this weekly herb post you will find a deeper description of a single herb that I hope will get you thinking creatively about using it in your garden.  I chose this herb because now is the time of year to dig and divide this herb for transplanting.

This week's herb is:  Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor)

The plant salad burnet, also known as pimpinelle, is a popular culinary and landscaping herb.  Its Scientific name name comes from the Latin word for blood, historically it was used as a purifier of  wounds. Burnet is a traditional herb garden plant originally recommended by Sir Frances Bacon in 1625.  In the essay on ideal gardens for planting in walkways, he suggested using it alone or with thyme and water mints because of the pleasant perfume when crushed. It grows in a soft mound, so makes a good edging plant and it keeps it light green color through out the year (even in winter).  In fact is can be harvested until the first snowfall.  It has both male and female flowers so it can self pollinate. The flowers appear in May and June and are small pink to purple tufts.  The tender round toothed young leaves taste like cucumber.  Because of its recommendations by Bacon it is often seen in Shakespearean themed gardens.

To Grow
Salad burnet grows well in containers and in gardens as long it has 5 hours of sun a day.  It is good in zones 3 to 10 and prefers full sun to light shade, likeing a well-drained soil.  Late fall or early spring is the time to dig up and divide Salad burnet for transplanting.  It can be grown from seed, but is very slow to germinate meaning most plants grown from seed barely reach a mature size and usually give little harvest the first year.  Planting them 12 inches apart will give them space to spread. 

Salad burnet is best used fresh. Cut it back as soon as flower buds appear to insure a continuous crop of leaves.  I do allow at least one clump to go to seed so I can harvest the seeds in summer to use in cooking.

Due to its cucumber flavor it is a great substitute for this vegetable flavor, especially since it will be available months before cucumbers are ripe.  It makes delicious vinegars, marinades, herb butters and beverages and even makes a pretty garnish.   You can float the leaves on top of fruit punch as a fun garnish.  The leaves can be stripped from the stem and frozen for winter use.  this methods is preferred as dried leaves have little flavor.  Chewing Salad burnet leave is said to aid digestion.  The seeds are good in vinegar, marinades and cheese dishes and for flavoring French dressing.  


Compound Herb Butter (great for tea sandwiches)

1 medium scallion, finely chopped
¼ cup packed fresh salad burnet leaves, finely chopped (after measuring)
1 Tbls. fresh lemon juice
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black or white pepper
¼ tsp. dry mustard
½ cup unsalted butter, softened

You can blend and chop by hand or combine the scallion and herbs in a food processor.  Add lemon juice, salt, pepper, mustard, and butter.  Mix together very thoroughly. Transfer to waxed paper or plastic wrap and roll into a log about 1 inch in diameter and 7 inches long.   Freeze until ready to slice and use.

Makes great tea sandwiches for an afternoon tea, especially when used with fresh whole leaves.

Egg Salad with Salad Burnet
Make a hearty sandwich to serve at your picnic, by serving this egg salad on fresh slices of whole wheat herb bread.

12 eggs
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt
2 tablespoons fresh salad burnet - chopped fine
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Place the eggs in a large pan, fill the pan with water and place it on the stove on high heat. When the water comes to a boil turn the heat down to medium and cook the eggs for an additional 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove, drain the water and run cold water over the eggs until they have cooled down. Remove the shells from the eggs and chop them up then place them in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Serve this salad of assorted breads and crackers if desired.
All recipes copyright 2010 Marcy Lautanen-Raleigh and should not be used without permission.

Salad burnet is an herb only used fresh, but if you want to try an herbal butter in the winter, we have several dry herb mixes on our website-

This webpage was updated 3/28/14

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I live in Tillamook, OR. Do you know when should I start planting burnet?


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