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of the Month
scutatus or R. acetosa
To 18 inches
has long been a staple in French and European cuisine. It has a tart,
lemony flavor with subtle spinach overtones. The young tender leaves are
wonderful in salads. Perhaps sorrel is most well known for use in cream
of sorrel soup, which is served either cold or hot. It is a wonderful
addition to sandwiches and omelets. The leaves have a tenderizing effect
and can be use to wrap meats and seafood before broiling.
Scientific research has shown that compounds
in sorrel have antiseptic and laxative effects. Sorrel contains oxalic
acid and extremely large amounts of it can be toxic, especially to those
in ill health.
The market for sorrel varies from area to area
but there seem to be devotees all over this country. Sales will increase
if your customers are taught how to use this herb. French sorrel, Rumex
scutatus, with its arrow-shaped leaves, it the variety preferred by chefs.
This type is said to contain less acid and is better for use fresh. Most
people find that the other main culinary type of sorrel, R. acetosa, is
just as good in all respects.
Sorrel is quite easy to grow and the seeds germinate
easily. It can also be propagated by root division. Sorrel is a cool weather
herb and can be planted in partial shade in warm climate areas. Space
the plants 8 to 10 inches apart. Divide the plants every 3 years as the
beds become overcrowded. When the tall flower stalks begin to form be
sure to remove them or you will be rewarded with a garden full of baby
sorrel plants. This herb very easily self-sows!
Sorrel is covered in more detail in Chapter 25
of Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs by Sandie Shores.
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Herb of the Month pages.
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Growing and Selling Fresh-Cut Herbs
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