Saturday, 8 December 2007

French Sorrel


French Sorrel
Rumex scutatus
Family Polygonaceae
Grows 20-50cm tall.
Propagated by seed or cutting...I don't allow my plants to flower and set seed as it could create a weed problem. The chooks love the flower stalks.

Uses:
A Tea made from the leaves can be soothing if applied to sunburnt skin also makes and antiseptic mouthwash to aid mouth ulcers.
An infusion of leaves in vinegar can sooth itchy skin.
Sorrel produces blue and green dyes and the boiled root a red colouring.
Leaves and stems have been used to replace rennet to curdle milk in cheese making.

For edible use the leaves should be picked young and tender.
If grown in the shade leaves are larger and more tasty.
In my garden it doesn't die back through winter but only grows slowly.
Contains oxalic acid so care taken for those sensitive to oxalates. Par boiling or blanching the leaves can reduce the oxalic acid content.
There are recipes aplenty for Sorrel Soup using cream or milk to address the bitter taste but this recipe from Isabell Shipard's book How Can I Use Herbs in My Daily Life? looks tempting:

Sorrel and Tomato Soup
4 large handfuls of finely shredded sorrel leaves
1 cup diced tomatoes
600ml chicken stock (home made)
2 tablespoons butter
Cook sorrel in the melted butter for 1 minute
Add tomatoes and cook 5 mins
Add chicken stock, salt and pepper to taste and simmer 5 mins.

Source:
How Can I Use Herbs in My Daily Life? by Isabell Shipard

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