Salad burnet is a bushy, graceful, perennial plant with sharply deep-green, toothed leaves. Although delicate in appearance, it’s actually sturdy, its evergreen leaves usually pushing up through a light covering of snow. Native to Europe and western Asia, salad burnet was brought to North America by early European colonists and is now naturalized.
About Taste: Salad burnet isn’t aromatic, and has a mild, lightly astringent flavor reminiscent of cucumber with a hint of nuttiness. Old leaves become bitter and are best cooked.
Parts Used: Leaves and young stems.
Buying & Preserving: Salad burnet will keep for a day or two in a plastic bag in the vegetable crisper of the fridge. You can buy bunches of burnet in the market In some parts of Europe, where they’re sold alongside other herbs and salad leaves.
Herb Gardening: Easy to grow from seed, salad burnet flourishes in light, well drained soil in sun or light shade. Remove the flower heads and cut leaves regularly to encourage new growth. Divide after the second year to maintain tender growth.
The delicate taste of the young, feathery Salad burnet leaves is best appreciated by eating them uncooked. Add them to salads— they’re particularly good in fall and winter, when interesting salad leaves can be in short supply. Chop salad burnet as a garnish for vegetables or egg dishes; combine with tarragon, chives, and chervil for fines herbs. The leaves are good scattered over soups and casseroles, and made into sauces and herb butters. Salad burnet is usually recommended to flavor vinegar.
Fresh sprigs: The tender, young leaves have the best flavor. Salad burnet pretty red flowers have no taste.
Good with cream cheese, cucumber, fava beans, eggs, salad leaves, fish, tomatoes. Combines well with chervil, miner’s lettuce, chives, parsley, mint, tarragon, rosemary.