Kitchen Corner: Get Sweet on Sorrel

Kitchen Corner: Get Sweet on Sorrel

You think you know herbs, but have you tried sorrel? If not, you'’re missing out on a world of lemony goodness.

Ah, spring. The time when a young man’s—or woman’s—fancy lightly turns to thoughts of fresh herbs (to take some serious liberties with Tennyson). If you’re looking for something beyond the usual basil, chives, and parsley, it’s time to try pleasantly sour sorrel.

Looks like spinach; tastes like lemon

The tartness of sorrel has been likened to citrus fruits and green apples, and sorrel is at its zingy zenith in early spring. It may resemble spinach, but the two are quite different. If spinach is the tut-tutting librarian, sorrel is the freewheeling bombshell with a Vespa. Plus, sorrel is high in vitamins A and C. You’re not sacrificing nutrition for taste when you choose it, though it should be eaten in more moderate amounts than spinach.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas

Try mixing sorrel with chopped sweet fruits like peaches and nectarines and a drizzle of honey for a next-level fruit salad. Or simply add a few chopped sorrel leaves to your run-of-the-mill green salad. At breakfast, a few sorrel strips will brighten your eggs Benedict or omelette. Come lunchtime, a couple of leaves will wake up your sandwich. Sorrel also pairs well with most fish, particularly as part of a sauce.

If you want to try the most vaunted sorrel recipe of them all, give sorrel soup a go (use vegan butter, coconut milk, and veggie stock for a vegan take on it).

Where to find; what to watch out for

You can purchase sorrel at some grocery stores and farmers’ markets, but why not start your own from seed or purchase a small plant from a nursery? Inquire about appropriate planting times for your climate zone, but don’t fret too much: sorrel can survive light frost, and just a couple of plants quickly grow into a decent-sized patch for the average family.

Sorrel’s distinctive taste comes in part from its oxalic acid content. Oxalic acid should not be consumed in large amounts, and those who have a history of kidney stones should avoid it altogether. Speak with your health care provider before trying new herbs.

Make this spring a little fresher with sorrel, and when you do, be sure to tell us about it. #aliveathome

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