Gourmet Food Source
Burnet or Salad Burnet is one of those wonderful old-fashioned herbs that have sadly been relegated to the lower leagues in terms of popularity, which is a pity as it is quite versatile for the cook and gardener alike.
An ancient herb, brought to Britain in the sixteenth century it was initially used to help staunch the flow of blood from wounds and found favour with the Tudors as an ornamental herb in manicured gardens.
How to Grow
A hardy herb, which grows best on chalky soil, it is practically an evergreen with the base leaves keeping their colour throughout the winter. Salad burnet requires little attention; indeed it almost thrives on neglect with its ability to withstand sustained periods of dry weather. Try to avoid the plant from flowering, cutting regularly encourages lots of new growth and the young, tender leaves are best for the kitchen. If the seeds are allowed to ripen they will distribute themselves at will throughout your garden so keep cutting to ensure an attractive edging plant in an edge of your choice! If garden space is restricted then they are perfect for container growing. Do not over water, they benefit from a feed of liquid fertilizer in the spring only. Keep cutting for fresh tender growth and you will be rewarded with an attractive addition to your patio throughout winter.
How to Cook
Salad Burnet’s delicate leaves have a subtle cucumber flavour, which was used to add interest to cold drinks. In more recent times they have been used in salads and as a flavouring for sauces and vinegars, they make a useful addition to compound butters and once chopped can be folded through crème fraiche as an interesting flavouring for summer soups.
Content and picture © Miles Collins