The coastal region in south-west India known as the Malabar Coast was originally called Malichabar. The name is derived from the Sanskrit word `malicha’, meaning pepper and the Arabian word ‘bar’, meaning land, hence pepper land. This relatively narrow coastal belt is the original home of the pepper plant, a climbing shrub growing to a height of 6 m (20 ft).

Used as a flavouring are the fragrant, small, hard, greyish-brown, double achenes which have a pleasant sweetish taste. The aroma is due to the presence of an essential oil containing anethol. It is used as a cough medicine, in lozenges, and in flavouring liqueurs, most typical being anisette. Anise is a characteristic flavouring for sweet dishes, cookies and coffee-cakes. It is also added to plum preserves and to pickled gherkins.

The delicately-scented, mildly pungent leaves with a cucumber-like flavour are used for flavouring. These are eaten as a salad by southern Europeans, the same as the leaves of Burnet (Sanguisorba minor). The young basal leaves are the tastiest if picked before the flower stem begins to grow.

They are used only fresh to flavour salads, vegetable soups and sauces. They may also be used as a garnish for cold-dishes. They are particularly good as an ingredient of fine herb mixtures, for flavouring mayonnaises, boiled vegetables and fish. They may be used together with chervil, tarragon, parsley, chives and the like.

Burnet saxifrage grows wild throughout nearly the whole of Europe and the Middle East. It is commonly found on dry banks, in meadows, by the wayside and on the edge of forests. If you want fresh foliage the whole summer long, however, you can grow it in the garden, windowbox or simply in a pot.

Saxifrage can be plant in any free space in your garden. You can grow saxifrage in your kitchen garden and use it as a spice in your cooking. All it needs is a sunny location and not too much moisture. It may be propagated by means of seeds (achenes), or by the division of older clumps.

To find out more on herbs gardening, search online for more tips and information on herbs.

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