What is Sorrel? Benefits and Culinary Uses

by HollieT

Discussing the benefits of the herb sorrel, nutritional information and recipes for sorrel, egg and potato soup.

What is Sorrel?
Sorrel or Rumex Acetosa , is a hardy perennial which thrives in positions of semi shade. This pungent herb can often grow in excess of 90cm tall and during the summer months produces small, white or red flowers.

The nutritional benefits of sorrel are well documented and research has shown that this herb is rich in Oxalic acid, which is known to have blood cleansing properties. It also contains Calcium, Niacin, Riboflavin and vitamin C.

The health benefits of sorrel.

Categorized as a nutraceutical, a health enhancing food, sorrel has also been linked to the prevention of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and hypertension. The leaves from this unusual herb are often used as a poultice as they are believed to effectively treat boils and other skin conditions. This perennial is also particularly easy to grow from seed, if planted in the right conditions.

As sorrel is such a versatile herb the leaves can be eaten as a delicious vegetable on their own, and in terms of taste, are often compared to a 'lemony' spinach. The leaves can also be chopped and added to salads, stews, soups or, if desired, pureed and frozen for later use.

Foraging for sorrel.

Wild sorrel can be found in a number of countries, including the UK. However, if you decide to go foraging for sorrel you would do well to ensure that you forage with someone knowledgeable, or at the very least you have a reliable guide for correct identification. Many plants and herbs which grow in the wild can be poisonous, so you should not dismiss the importance of correct identification of the herb or plant which you intend to eat.

Also, as mentioned previously in this article, sorrel contains Oxalic acid, and whilst there is no problem when it comes to consuming Oxalic acid in small quantities, it is a poison. Therefore, as with most things, moderation is the key.

If you have any doubts whatsoever, refer to the video beneath or invest in a reliable identification guide.

How to identify sorrel.

Culinary uses for sorrel.

When most people think about sorrel they imagine a sauce or stuffing for fish. And whilst it's true that sorrel and fish marry very well, sorrel can be used to create an abundance of dishes. Sorrel soup or green borscht as it is sometimes known, is popular in a number of countries including Russia, Poland and Latvia. Sorrel soup can served hot or cold.

Recipe for sorrel, egg and potato soup

Prep time 5 min  -  Total time 70 min
Ingredients for 4 servings
2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced.  • 2 bunches of fresh sorrel, rinsed and chopped.  • 4 eggs, hard boiled, peeled and sliced into quarters.  • 500ml of vegetable stock.  • 180ml of water.  • 180ml of single cream.  • 60g unsalted butter.  • salt and freshly ground black pepper.

.1.In a large non-stick saucepan, melt the butter and add the potatoes. Cover and cook gently over a low heat for approximately 5-6 minutes.
2.Add the sorrel to the pan and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the stock and the water. Season and bring to the boil, then, reducing the heat, cover and simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
3.In the meantime, fill a medium sized saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Carefully, add the eggs, and cook for 6-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before removing the shells and quartering.
4.After 20 minutes, remove the potato and sorrel mixture from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Then, in batches, add the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth.
5.Return the mixture to the pan, and without boiling, stir through the cream until the soup is warmed through.
6.Place the sliced egg on the top of each bowl and serve immediately.

Recipe  0.0/5 Stars (0 Votes)

Other uses for sorrel.

Add some chopped apple to a regular salad along with some finely chopped sorrel leaves to give an  unusual, yet delicious, sweet and sour taste. Alternatively, finely chop a handful of sorrel leaves and add to your favourite omelette. Sorrel also makes an excellent addition ti stir fries.


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Updated: 08/08/2013, HollieT
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HollieT on 08/08/2013

Hi Mira,

Yes, there's been quite a bit of research on sorrel. It taste's pretty good and is really beneficial to health. That's a win win in my book! :)

Mira on 08/06/2013

I've never tried sorrel. Thanks for this. I'm reading now the root boosts the immune system and may help eliminate benign and malign tumor. It also helps in hepatitis A, B, and C. Quite a herb you have here! This is just a quick find. I'll be reading more about it. The name sounds familiar in Romanian.

HollieT on 03/01/2013

I love sorrel, Sheilamarie. I also add to stir fries just at the end of cooking and allow it wilt. Lovely :) it's great that you have a free supply.

sheilamarie on 03/01/2013

I have sorrel growing wild in my garden and on my lawn. I love to add it to salads during the summer. Just a little adds zing.

HollieT on 02/23/2013

Thanks Katie! If you can find some and correctly identify it, it's also free, nutritious food. :)

katiem2 on 02/22/2013

WOW I had no idea. Thanks for the information on sorrel, now I know what it is and why it's vital. I think I've actually seen it in the wild but had no idea what it was. Amazing the things we take for granted right under our feet. Great Article! :)K

HollieT on 12/21/2012

Hi 2uesday, it does yes, either red or white. Looks like you may have your own free supply of sorrel without having to buy any seeds. :)

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