Sunday, June 21, 2009

Perennial Vegetable Profile: Sorrel

Sorrel (also called French Sorrel and Spinach Dock) is one of the easiest perennial vegetables that you can grow in your garden. It is extremely cold hardy, to USDA Zone Three. Once established in your garden, it will likely be the first vegetable you harvest each year. Some call the taste of the leaves lemony, while others say they taste similar to sour wild strawberries. The leaves are wonderful in salads, and they make an excellent springtime soup when pureed (see recipe below). Sorrel is also an important ingredient in many fish and sauce recipes.

To grow sorrel in your garden, you should plant this perennial vegetable in early spring. As it grows, you can eat the thinnings. The plant will also regrow from being cut. Once fully grown, it can reach up to three feet in height. When it starts to send up flower stalks the leaves will become very bitter, so you should try to eat your fill before then. You will need to divide the plants every few years. Sorrel makes a wonderful gift for friends and family who garden! If you are looking for a good variety, try "Mammoth Lyon."

Simple Sorrel Soup Recipe

  • Two cups of fresh cut sorrel leaves
  • Two cups of diced potatoes
  • Two tablespoons of oil, preferably olive oil
  • One cup of heavy cream
  • Approximately six cups of water

Wash the sorrel, remove and discard the stems. Heat the oil in a large pot, then add the sorrel leaves and the diced potatoes. Stir until the leaves have wilted, and then add the water. Simmer the soup until the potatoes are soft (probably about fifteen minutes). Then puree the soup in a blender or with a hand held mixer. Return to the pot, at the cream and salt and pepper to taste.

(Photo courtesy of Burchik at wikipedia).