If, like us, you're hungry for fresh eats from your garden early in the spring, you'll appreciate the fresh, tart taste of sorrel. As a perennial, it is up and growing as soon as the snow melts. Its lemony flavor makes it a "spring tonic" to be enjoyed!
Sorrel is simplicity itself to grow. It is tolerant of a wide range of soils and does well in full to part sun. Like most leafy greens, it appreciates plenty of water and some fertilizer early in the spring.
Sorrel leaves are best when small, as they get tough and stronger flavored as they grow. If the leaves get too big to be enjoyable, cut them off and compost them and let the plant grow some fresh, new foliage. French sorrel will attempt to go to seed in the summer and it is a good idea to cut off the seed stalks as they form or you may find yourself growing more sorrel than you planned on!
French sorrel, with its long green leaves, is quite tart. Although some people enjoy them fresh, many of us find them quite puckery. Luckily, they lose a little of their acidity when cooked!
Red Vein Sorrel is significantly less tart than its cousin! Its striking foliage makes a lovely and tasty addition to spring salads. Use the leaves when quite small - they can be very chewy when they get larger.
Cream of sorrel soup
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups sorrel leaves, chopped
2 quarts chicken stock
2 Tbsp. flour stirred into 2 Tbsp. water
1 cup half and half OR a can of evaporated milk
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened. Add sorrel, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes, or until well wilted. Add stock and flour slurry. Simmer, stirring, for 10 minutes, or until thickened. Add cream and nutmeg, heat through, do NOT boil once the cream is added! Season to taste.
Puree the mixture before adding the cream.
Add some white wine in place of part of the chicken stock.
Add garlic to the onions when sautéing them.
Toss in a half cup of shredded carrot.