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This item was last sold on : 06/28/21
Wood sorrel is a creeping perennial that grows up to 38 centimeters in height and can be recognized by its small heart-shaped leaves that cluster in groups of three on a single stem. The leaves are green with light purple pigmentation on the underside of the leaves, Wood sorrel has 5-petaled bright yellow or occasionally white flowers. The stems and leaves have a mild lemon flavor with tart undertones. The acidic or vinegary taste of Wood sorrel comes from the presence of binoxalate of potash, which is also present to a greater degree in true sorrels and in rhubarb. This natural oxalic acid content is the reason it has earned the “sour” moniker.
Wood sorrel can be found in the early spring and through the end of fall in temperate climates.
Wood sorrel is most commonly known as ‘sour grass’ and can be found while on neighborhood walks, hiking trails and in wooded, shady areas. It is botanically known as Oxalis acetosella and is it is not a true sorrel, but a member of the Oxalidaceae family. It goes by many names, including: common yellow oxalis, upright yellow-sorrel, and even lemon clover. Wood sorrel has been used for centuries for both medicinally and culinary uses.
Rich in vitamin C, Wood sorrel has been used to treat scurvy, fevers, nausea and sore throats. To treat mouth sores, chew Wood sorrel until the leaf has turned into a paste. Russians make a cooling beverage from the leaves of Wood sorrel to treat fever.
Wood sorrel should be used fresh, immediately after it is picked. To harvest, pull it up by the roots and reserve only the flowers and leaves. Discard large stems which become tough and woody, however smaller, wispier stems are tender and can be eaten. The flowers and leaves can be added as an herb to salads and soups or for a citrusy bite for wild game or other meats, fish or vegetable dishes. A puree of the leaves, flowers and stems can be used as a sauce for fish. To make a ‘lemon-free’ lemonade, dry Wood sorrel leaves and stems, crush using a mortar and pestle and mix with sugar for a lemon-free “lemonade powder”. Complimentary flavors include, hard aged cheeses, cream, eggs, fish, caviar, oysters, lentils, potatoes, spinach, onion, shallot, mustard, parsley, tarragon, mint, chervil and nutmeg.
Due to its three-leafed stems, it is widely considered that Wood sorrel was the plant used by St. Patrick to demonstrate the Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland.
Wood sorrel is native to North America, parts of Eurasia and in small areas of Britain. It is an incredibly hardy perennial that can sprout up in almost any condition, but thrives in partial shade with moderate rainfall.
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Recipes that include Wood Sorrel. One is easiest, three is harder.