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Herb of the Month – May: Sorrel

Herb of the Month – May: Sorrel

The Herb of the Month for May 2020 is Sorrell Rumex acetose, R. scutatus

Sorrell, a perennial herb (or greens), has a tart lemony flavor, but there are several varieties that are milder such as French sorrel. This herb, which has been cultivated for centuries produces flower spikes in the early summer with roots running deep into the ground. Sorrell is also referred to as spinach dock and narrow-leaved dock.

Historically it was popular in the Middle Ages and also in the 16th century because it added readily available flavoring to foods. Once lemons became popular and other seasonings were more available, sorrel began to fall out of favor. Today’s uses include fresh leaves in salads or herbal blends, leaves pureed in soups and sauces, and chopped leaves added to stews or combined with spinach. It is still popular in eastern Europe, rural Greece, and Nigeria. Totally worth a try!

The benefits of sorrel include: high vitamin C content, vitamins A and B9, and also a variety of minerals including potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron and calcium.  The leaves also contain oxalic acid and should be sparingly used by those who have kidney stones, arthritis, or gout.

Today’s research has found flavonoids, antioxidants, and anthocyanins in sorrel.  All these beneficial components could be useful in promoting our health. 

Some varieties that can be found in farmer’s markets are Common sorrel, French sorrel, Red-veined sorrel, and Sheep’s sorrel.

. ~~ Reni Erskine

Reni Erskine
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