The salad burnet is one of the many underrated wild edibles. Called also garden burnet or small burnet, it has a fresh and surprising taste, similar to cucumber. There’s an old saying here in Italy “L’insalata non è buona e non è bella se non c’è la Pimpinella”. Besides the use as a food, it is commonly used in herbal medicine as a digestive and able to regulate intestinal transit.
Where can you find it?
Distribution: paleotemperate, temperate regions of ancient world (Eurasia and northern Africa). In Italy is common in every region. It is nonnative in North America, South America, Australia, and New Zealand
Habitat: dry environments, infertile and well-drained soils, uncultivated fields, screes, roadsides. Small burnet is drought tolerant. Grows from the sea-level up to an elevation of 5250 feet.
When to harvest?
Leaves generally stay green and palatable throughout the growing season. Usually from April to September.
How do I use it?
The cucumber-flavored leaves can be used raw in salads or used to flavour cheeses, sauces (fish), pesto, soups, fruit salads, iced drinks. It is also used to flavour wines and vinegars.
It can be frozen raw or cooked. Dried leaves can be used for herbal tea.
A very easily grown plant, succeeding in any soil, better if well-drained. Grows well in full sun or partial shade. Seed – sow in early spring or in autumn in situ. No prior treatment is needed. In the garden can be grown easily close to aromatic herbs. Suffers from competition when close to fast growing broad leaves plants. Seeds can be bought in garden centre.