Friday, May 28, 2010

Growing the Herb: Salad Burnet - Poterium sanguisorba- and what to do with it

I love growing herbs; but often grow them all summer long and fail to use them. I looked up this little perennial herb that I have growing. It is starting to develop pretty pink flower heads so I thought I would try to use it in a recipe this week before it becomes bitter. Here is an article that I found with some great recipes to try.

Growing and Using Salad Burnet
By Brenda Hyde

Salad burnet, Poterium sanguisorba, is an interesting herb to grow in your garden with it's fern-like leaves, but even more importantly it's an easy to grow, useful herb. It's leaves taste much like cucumber, and can be used whole in salads or chopped into soups and other dishes.

Burnet is a perennial that can be grown from seed, and harvested early the first year. Start indoors to give it a head start or direct seed after the last frost. The first year it will reach 6-8 inches, and you can begin using the leaves when they are about 4 inches high. Cut back your burnet and use the leaves often, this will keep them coming and they won't get large enough to become tough.

You can plant burnet in light shade-but it needs about 6 hours of sun to do well. It's not picky about soil-wet feet in heavy soil can rot the roots, but dry soil is no problem. In mild climates it will continue to grow into the winter months, and it comes back quickly in the spring, following the chives, which seem to always pop up first. Keep the flowers cut off for the best performance, or allow one plant to reseed itself if you wish. The second year it will grow to 18 inches, but again, if allowed to grow this large without harvesting it will become tough.

Burnet does not dry well, but you can freeze it or use it in your herb vinegar mixtures. It has an excellent flavor for vinegars that you use in salad dressings! The tender leaves can be used in dips, with fish, or in tea sandwiches.

Burnet Tea Sandwiches

1 pound loaf unsliced white bread (or 2 smaller loaves)

1/2 cup butter

16 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons chives, chopped

1/4 cup chopped salad burnet leaves

1/4 cup milk or cream


Trim the crust from loaves and cut bread into 1/2 inch slices. Mix together cream cheese, butter, and milk. Add burnet and chives. Lightly spread mix on one side of each slice of bread. Top with pieces of lettuce and put two slices together. Wrap all with foil until time to serve, and cut into four squares or triangles.

Dill Burnet Butter

1/2 pound unsalted butter

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

2-3 salad burnet sprigs

2-3 sprigs fresh dill

Blend all ingredients thoroughly until all is creamed. Use on sandwiches, fish or vegetables after steaming.
Herb Vingear for Dressings
Combine two sprigs each of oregano, salad burnet, thyme, and parsley. Add five to six stems of chives (the blooms are nice too if it's that time of year). Place these in a quart jar and pour the vinegar over the herbs until almost full. Place the lid on and allow to sit for 3-4 weeks. Strain and use on fish and in salad dressings.

Herb Dressing and Mixed Green Salad

1 1/2 cups olive oil

3 Tbsp. herb vinegar

1 Tbsp. honey

3-4 Sprigs each: Salad Burnet, Oregano and Basil

Mixture of salad greens and lettuce

thinly sliced and seeded cucumber slices

radishes, green or red pepper and tomato

Combine oil, vinegar, honey, salad burnet, marjoram, oregano and basil sprigs in blender and process until smooth. Chill 2 hours. Use over a salad of mixed greens with thinly sliced vegetables.

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