Sorrel | More About This Herb

Sorrel is easily grown and its fresh lemony flavour is very versatile in dishes such as salads, soups and frittatas. Three species are commonly grown for culinary purposes. Broad leaf varieties are a perennial forming a basal rosette of leaves up to 15 cm long. In early summer the slender flowering stems, to about 1.2m produce spikes of tiny reddish flowers, followed by hard nutlets. The French variety has smaller ovate to hastate leaves, tiny green flowers and grows to about 30cm. Sheep’s sorrel has large succulent leaves and is used for classic sorrel soup and to produce blue and green dyes.

This herb requires a rich, moist soil and a sunny to partly shaded position. Sow seeds in situ when the soil has warmed in spring, or start it indoors and transplant it. Seeds germinate within 14 days. Thin plants to 30 cm apart. Regularly trim the plants to keep up the supply of fresh, tender young leaves. Remove the flowering heads whenever they appear.

Pick the leaves fresh throughout the growing season. It does not dry well but, like spinach, it can be frozen. This spinach like leaf is quite delicious if picked when young and tender. Cook it briefly to retain the flavour. Do not use aluminium or iron pots or utensils as they will make the sorrel go black and cause a disagreeable metallic taste. If using raw, select the young, tender leaves. A purée of cooked sorrel is a good accompaniment to fish, eggs, pork and veal. Sorrel’s acidity also acts as a meat tenderizer. Sorrel sauce is a French classic that goes well with poached fish.

information sourced from The Complete Book of Herbs

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