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Salad Burnet is a perennial herb with a thin, light green stem and emerald green, slightly rounded, serrated leaflets. Salad Burnet is a hardy perennial and grows well in moist soil, where the weather does not get too dry. Best when used fresh, Salad Barnet imparts a cucumber-like flavor to dishes and beverages. When mature, Salad Burnet has long stems that flower during the summer, with either large red, bottle brush flowers or yellow flowers with bright red stigmas extending from the tops of the flowers.
Salad Burnet is available year-round.
Salad Burnet is an old-world herb, botanically known as Sanguisorba officinalis and Sanguisorba minor. Collectively, both species are referred to as Salad Burnet, though they are separately referred to as Great Burnet and Garden Burnet, respectively. Salad Burnet is also known simply as ‘Burnet’ yet it goes by several common names, such as Di-Yu, Ancient Herb, and Wildflower of Britain and Ireland. Greater Burnet has been used medicinally for over 2000 years, whereas Garden Burnet is more commonly associated with being a culinary ingredient. Both can be used interchangeably.
Salad Burnet has medicinal benefits that go back millennia, to help staunch bleeding. The plant has some nutritional benefits as well, such as vitamin A, carbohydrates and protein.
Salad Burnet is most often used fresh, added to salads, sandwiches and can be used as an edible garnish. Salad Burnet is also used to infuse lemonades or sparkling water with its cool cucumber flavor. Chop stems and leaves and use to flavor dips and vinegars. Combine with basil and oregano for a salad dressing. Mix chopped Salad Burnet with butter or soft cheeses for a savory spread. Toss chopped leaves into hot egg or potato dishes at the last minute. Substitute Salad Burnet for basil in recipes for a unique taste. Salad Burnet is also used to make ‘herb beer’. Salad Burnet, like other tender herbs will keep up to a week when wrapped in plastic and refrigerated in the crisper drawer.
In Chinese medicine, the root of Greater Burnet is referred to as Di-Yu and is used to stop bleeding and aid in coagulation. During 16th century Tudor England, Garden Burnet was combined with some twenty other herbs to include in a special wine that was drunk to stop the plague.
Salad Burnet is native to the humid hillsides, mountains, woodlands of Europe and has been foraged and cultivated for over 2000 years. Growing best in cool, moist climates, Salad Burnet is a hardy plant resistant to cool temperatures down to 30 degrees. The herb grows wild and is cultivated across China, where it has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Famous botanist Carl Linnaeus named certain plants as “officinalis” if they had specific culinary or medicinal benefits. The Latin name for Salad Burnet, Sanguisorba officinalis comes from ‘sanguis,’ meaning blood, and ‘sorbeo,’ meaning to staunch. The herb has been used as a coagulant and hemorrhagic for centuries and is also used to stop internal bleeding.