Sorrel (Rumex acetosa*)

The narrow-leaved dock, spinach dock or french sorrel is native to Europe and has been used for centuries. It belongs to the Polygonaceae family, as does rhubarb and dock. Members of this family contain high level of oxalic acid, which confer on plants a rather sharp taste. Unlike rhubarb, discard the stem and only use the leaves in soup, sauces and young leaves in salads.

Sorrel thrives in a rich, slightly acidic and well-drained soil and can grow up to 1m high (only about 60 cm for the leaves). Several species of moth and butterfly larvae like to feed on the leaves.

It contains high levels of vitamins A and C.

However, due to the high content of oxalic acid, you should avoid sorrel if you suffer from rheumatism, kidney or bladder stones.
It is also a natural laxative and is definitively not a plant I would recommend before going on a first date.
Avoid frying it in an aluminium pan as oxalic acid will react with the pan and release an unpleasant metallic taste.
If you are taking supplementary mineral, be aware that sorrel can interfere with the uptake of iron and calcium.

Sorrel does not belong to 'the must have list' of all herbs, but you will never forget the taste of a nice sorrel soup on a winter day. Try the recipe from below.

Mimi's sorrel and potato soup (France):
-5 medium size potatoes,
-Salt (to taste),
-5 medium size sorrel leaves,
-Sour cream to taste (optional).

Make a basic potato soup: bring salted water to the boil and cook the potatoes until soft. Add sorrel leaves and cook for 3 minutes. Blend the potato along with sorrel leaves until smooth.
Serve hot with a tablespoon full of sour cream.
(If it tastes too acidic add a potato or two, if you think you can hardly taste the sorrel add a couple of leaves and blend again.)

Enjoy and feel free to email us your best recipes.

Text by Aurelie Quade,
Proof reading by Helen Quade,
Recipe by Mimi Clerc.

(*should be in italics)