Arbor Gate's Picks
of the Month

Salad Burnet

August 9, 2019 Back to Picks >

Poterium sanguisorba, Rosacea/Perennial

Our monthly herb picks for this year will focus on a variety of familiar culinary herbs. Some, like parsley, are such old friends that we overlook a few of their culinary uses. Others, like rosemary, occur in numerous varieties, some better for the cooking pot than others.

Remember that October 1 is New Year’s Day for herbs — many, if not most, of the featured herbs this year will take kindly to a cool season transplanting. If you are interested in the herbs listed for July and August, putting off transplanting until October might be a good idea.

Salad Burnet is an intriguing herb, since in spite of its name, it has far more visual than culinary interest. An evergreen, flowering plant that well deserves a place in the garden, it is quite cold-hardy. A freeze following winter rain can result in stunningly dramatic ice decorated blue-green leaves!

The distinctly cucumber-scented leaves provide the familiar summery flavor to a winter salad. To use the leaves, just cut a handful of the small ones from the center of the plant and chop or cut them into salad greens. Burnet’s habit — it grows from a crown — promotes very rapid re-growth of new leaves after shearing thus for culinary use.

Its mild flavor also makes its leaves a welcome addition to asparagus, celery, beans, and mushrooms, as well as soups and even potato salad.
A flavorful vinegar can be made by covering salad burnet leaves with good white or cider vinegar and letting it stand in a dark place for several weeks. The resulting flavored vinegar is especially useful in vinaigrette recipes with its overtones of cucumber.