Herb and Spice of the Week – Sorrel

April 30, 2015 at 5:10 AM | Posted in Herb and Spice of the Week | 3 Comments
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Sorrel

Sorrel

Common sorrel or garden sorrel (Rumex acetosa), often simply called sorrel, is a perennial herb in the family Polygonaceae. Other names for sorrel include spinach dock and narrow-leaved dock. It is a common plant in grassland habitats and is cultivated as a garden herb or leaf vegetable (pot herb).

 

 

Sorrel is a slender herbaceous perennial plant about 60 cm high, with roots that run deep into the ground, as well as juicy stems and edible, arrow-shaped (sagittate) leaves. The lower leaves are 7 to 15 cm in length with long petioles and a membranous ocrea formed of fused, sheathing stipules. The upper ones are sessile, and frequently become crimson. It has whorled spikes of reddish-green flowers, which bloom in early summer, becoming purplish. The species are dioecious, with stamens and pistils on different plants.

The leaves are eaten by the larvae of several species of Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) including the blood-vein moth.

 

Flowering sorrel.

Flowering sorrel.

Rumex acetosa occurs in grassland habitats throughout Europe from the northern Mediterranean coast to the north of Scandinavia and in parts of Central Asia. It occurs as an introduced species in parts of North America.

 
Common sorrel has been cultivated for centuries. The leaves may be purred in soups and sauces or added to salads; they have a flavor that is similar to kiwifruit or sour wild strawberries. The plant’s sharp taste is due to oxalic acid.

* In northern Nigeria, sorrel is known as yakuwa or sure (pronounced suuray) in Hausa or karassu in Kanuri. It is also used in stews usually in addition to spinach. In some Hausa communities, it is steamed and made into salad using kuli-kuli (traditional roasted peanut cakes with oil extracted), salt, pepper, onion and tomatoes. The recipe varies according to different levels of household income. A drink called zobo (sorrel squash) is made from a decoction of the plant calyx.

* In Romania, wild or garden sorrel, known as măcriş or ştevie, is used to make sour soups, stewed with spinach, added fresh to lettuce and spinach in salads or over open sandwiches.

* In Russia and Ukraine it is called shchavel’ (щавель) and is used to make soup called green borscht. It is used as a soup ingredient in other countries, too (e.g., Lithuania, where it is known as rūgštynė).

* In Hungary the plant and its leaves are known as sóska (Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈʃɔːʃkɒ]). It is called kuzukulağı (‘lamb’s ear’) in Turkish. In Polish it is called szczaw (pronounced Polish pronunciation: [ʂʈʂaf]).

* In Croatia and Bulgaria is used for soups or with mashed potatoes, or as part of a traditional dish containing eel and other green herbs.

* In rural Greece it is used with spinach, leeks, and chard in spanakopita.

* In the Flemish speaking part of Belgium it is called “zurkel” and preserved pureed sorrel is mixed with mashed potatoes and eaten with sausages, meatballs or fried bacon, as a traditional winter dish.

* In Vietnam it is called Rau Chua and is used to added fresh to lettuce and in salads for Bánh Xēo.

* In Portugal, it is called azeda or azeda-brava (Portuguese pronunciation: [ɐˈzeðɐ], [ɐˈzeðɐ ˈβɾavɐ], “sour”, “fierce

Sorrel soup with egg and croutons; Polish cuisine.

Sorrel soup with egg and croutons; Polish cuisine.

sour”), and is usually eaten raw in saladas or used to make soups. That is identical to its use in Brazil, under the name of azedinha ([ɐzeˈdʒĩɲɐ], “small/lovely tart”).

* In India, the leaves are called chukkakura in Telugu and are used in making delicious recipes. Chukkakura pappu soup made with yellow lentils which is also called toor dal in India.

* In Albania it is called lëpjeta, the leaves are simmered and served cold marinated in olive oil, it is used in soups, and even as an ingredient for filling byrek pies (byrek me lakra).

This name can be confused with the hibiscus calyces or hibiscus tea.

 

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3 Comments »

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  1. very informative and interesting i really enjoyed reading this blog, cant wait to start having a play with some sorrel recipes.

    • I have never used Sorrel, yet. I’m going to try a few recipes out myself. Thank you for stopping by the blog!

  2. […] Herb and Spice of the Week – Sorrel […]


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