Sorrel leavesIf you read my previous post about my organic gardening, you know that this year I was finally able to locate sorrel seeds, and added this herb to my garden.  Sorrel in a hardy perennial plant, so I have a very good start to have my own supply for a while.  Also if I let it bloom, it will produce seeds for future planting.

Fresh sorrel could be a little challenging to find in a local grocery store, so the best place to look for it is in a specialty food stores, or to grow your own.  I had a difficult time to even find seeds, until I inquired about it in our local gardening/farming store.  They did not have it in stock, but were familiar with this herb, so I was very pleased to be able to order it.

Let me introduce you to this vegetable/herb, if you never had a chance to experience its taste or appearance.

Sorrel is a green leaf vegetable/herb native to Europe.  In appearance sorrel greatly resembles spinach (but has lighter green color, and longer leaves), but in taste sorrel can range from comparable to the kiwifruit in young leaves, to a more acidic tasting older leaf, due to the presence of oxalic acid.

Young sorrel leaves may be used in salads, soups or stews.  One should use the small tender leaves for salads, since they have the fruitier and less acidic taste, but for soups or stews the older leaves are more suitable, because they add more tang and flavor to the dish.

Sorrel has high levels of vitamin A and C, and moderate levels of potassium, calcium, and magnesium.  From a nutritional standpoint, sorrel can be an excellent food for many, but a problem for others, since the oxalic acid may aggravate the conditions of people with rheumatism, and kidney or bladder stones.

If you love sorrel when you first try it, learn to love it in small doses in the beginning, because sorrel has natural laxative properties, and might be a trial for the tummy.

Sorrel is easy to cultivate in any type of soil, however there might a slight problem is protecting it from rabbits and deer, because they will make sure the supply diminishes quicker than it is able to replenish.  Also, if you want to keep it organic, as I do, you have to watch out for other pesky insects, like moths, or slugs.

Sorrel is used in Easter European cooking (Ukrainian, Polish, Russian, Romanian), and the French also are using it in soups, salads, and for making a green sauce to serve with fish.

I like to snack on a few fresh, tender sorrel leaves, on a hot summer day, but I mostly use the fresh leaves to make a Sorrel Shchav (type of borsch/soup).

My future post will include the Sorrel Borsch-Shchav recipe, and a picture of the finished product.

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6 Responses

  1. Lori

    August 19th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    1

    What do you use in place of pesticides? I have a small herb garden, they are doing fine but my tomato plant is in bad shape…….i think with blight, not real sure.

  2. Suburban Grandma

    August 21st, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    2

    Some plants are easier to cultivate than others, and tomatoes could be tricky at times. Climate and soil have a lot to do with it as well. A wet summer, or overwatering, can cause the tomato skin to split. Blight can destroy your plant during a wet summer, turning the leaves brown, followed by black stems. By cleaning any debris of the plant will prevent damage. Also, you should not plant tomatoes in the same spot of your garden the following year. If your tomato problem does not sound like blight, then maybe it’s Blossom End Rot, which turns the bottom of the tomato fruit, brown and leathery, which is caused by calcium deficiency and moisture fluctuations. As a remedy for this, you would need to water regularly and apply calcium. I save egg shells, some coffee grinds, and vegetable peels, and work them into the garden soil. I hope your tomato plant improves. I was very happy to hear that you enjoy gardening!
    I never use pesticides in my garden, so if I spot any insects I pick them off, or prepare a home-made cocktail for them, out or dish detergent, water, oil and hot sauce, and spray them with it. Also, planting Marigolds, Poppies, and Nasturtiums, around your garden, helps to attract insects that eat aphids and other pests.

  3. Suzy

    August 24th, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    3

    I remember my grandfather growing Sorrel, but I myself have not tried to grow it yet. I guess that will be one to add on to next year.
    We have a specialty gardening center that has it there, but I have just passed it over. Thanks for sharing the knowledge and recipe!
    Suzy

  4. Suburban Grandma

    August 25th, 2009 at 6:46 pm

    4

    Sounds like I am bringing back some sweet memories of your grandfather. I remember you mentioned before that he was born in Poland, so it’s no surprise to me that he would include this herb in his garden and his diet. I’m pleased to know that you enjoyed the posts.

  5. Patsy Roy

    June 8th, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    5

    My sorrel is developing grey and brown patches on the leaves, what can I use to help this delicious plant?

  6. Suburban Grandma

    June 8th, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    6

    Sorrel replenishes itself so easily, I just trimmed mine all the way down to about 2 inches from the ground. A week later, I already have new, 5 inch long leaves. I would suggest to just cut the damaged leaves off to make room for new ones.


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