Term of the Week: Salad Burnet

Take a whiff- the smell is familiar.  Nibble on a leaf-  yum, you think of cucumbersSalad, or Garden Burnet is a green you must try, especially if you like the subtle smell and taste of cucumbers.

A perennial herb that can grow to 2 plus feet, it’s an unusual addition to your salad, not to mention your medicine chest.  An infusion can be made with a packed cup of fresh leaves or an ounce of dried, brought to a boil in water, steeped for 3 hours and strained.  This can be used to treat rheumatism, gout, sunburn, and eczema type skin problems.  I’ve yet to try this, has anyone out there?

It’s an attractive plant with fern-like new growth extending its arms as it grows, getting leggy.  This year it’s in my herb garden.  An alternative would be to plant in a rock garden, container or among flowers in a bed.

I like to put a few mature leaves in iced water instead of lemon or cucumber slices.  Other ideas include a garnish for seafood, chopped and mixed with butter or cream cheese for a spread (especially good with bagels and lox), use it to flavor vinegar, use instead of dill, mint or cilantro for a new flavor twist, and adding it to gazpacho.  I’ve even heard of someone making salad burnet jelly.

Some years ago we were introduced by a CSA box from Del Rio Botanical in West Sacramento.  You can purchase seed packets at various on-line sources or inquire at your favorite garden center.

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