The sorrel herb is a tangy, lemony flavoured plant and is part of the buckwheat family. The youngest leaves have a slightly acidic taste. However, you can cook the mature leaves steamed or sautéed like you would use spinach. You can also eat them raw.
Sorrel is a perennial herb that grows wild in many parts of the world and is also known as sour dock, sour weed, or garden sorrel. The herb is grown all around the world and is widely used in French cuisine in particular. There are many varieties of sorrel plants, but the most commonly used in cooking is French sorrel.
There is a variety known as sheep’s sorrel (Rumex acetosella) that is native to North America. It is not palatable to humans but produces excellent fodder for animals that is very nutritious.
Leaf sorrel is cultivated in the herb garden and grows 2 feet (61 cm) with upright stalks. The leaves are smooth, becoming crinkled and are from 3 to 6 inches (8-15 cm.) long. When it bolts in hot weather, it produces an attractive whorled purple flower.
The plant contains small amounts of oxalic acid, which is also present in parsley and spinach, to name but a couple of plants.
Sow seeds for the plant in spring when the soil has warmed up. Prepare a well-drained bed with well-cultivated soil. The seeds should be spaced around 6 inches (15 cm.) apart and laid just under the surface of the earth. Keep the bed moderately moist until germination occurs, and then thin the plants out when they reach 2 inches (5 cm.) high. The herb will not need extra care, but the bed needs to be kept free of weeds, and the plants should receive a good drenching with water per week.
Garden sorrel and French sorrel are the two main cultivated varieties of this herb. The Garden variety needs damp ground and temperate conditions. French sorrel likes dry, open areas with inhospitable soils. The plants have very deep and persistent taproots and grow well with little attention.
The most commonly used ways to propagate the herb are planting it from the rise in the summer heat, usually in June or July. If this does happen, you can allow the flower to bloom and enjoy it, but this slows down the production of leaves. If you want to encourage more significant leaf production, cut the flower stalks off, and the plant will surprise you with a few more harvests following that.
You can even cut the plant down to the ground, and it will produce a whole new crop of foliage.
The herb can be used from late spring until autumn, with careful management. Harvest only what you need from the plant and when you want to use it. It is much like lettuce and greens, where you can cut the outer leaves and continue producing foliage.
You can begin to harvest when the plants are 4 to 6 inches (10-15 cm.) tall. The small, tender leaves are best in salads. They add an acidic tang, with the larger leaves being more mellow. Sorrel is, of course, a traditional accompaniment to eggs and melts into creamy soups and sauces.
The good news withthisw herb is that it is a healthy addition to a properly balanced diet, and because of its low-calorie content and being low carb, it can help those following a weight loss plan. It goes well with the Keto diet, for example.
The health benefits are many.
The fibre content aids regular bowel movement, helps to regulate cholesterol and blood sugar. Probably the best thing is that it keeps you feeling fuller longer, which has obvious benefits for dieters. In addition, a diet with good fibre may help protect against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.
It would be best if you noted here that it is not advisable to eat it in large amounts due to the plant containing oxalic acid.
We have found a great resource, explaining 50 things to do with sorrel. Check it out HERE
Take a look at this 15,000 seed multipack of herbs:
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