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Sorrel Leaves – My Organic Garden

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.

I would like to 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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