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Purple Butterfly Sorrel
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This item was last sold on : 02/25/21
Purple Butterfly sorrel is comprised of underground tuberous rhizomes, generally 4 to 5 centimeters in length, that produce long and slender stems with trifoliate leaves. The leaves are usually small to medium in size, depending on growing conditions, and have a uniform, triangular shape with angular edges and rounded corners. The leaves also range in solid to variegated hues of purple, magenta, and dark purple, almost appearing black, and have a smooth, velvety texture. Purple Butterfly sorrel leaves are sensitive, opening and closing in response to light, darkness, and weather changes. When the leaves are closed, they fold and point down, resembling small umbrellas. In the spring, the plants bear soft pink or white, five-petaled flowers that also close at night. Purple Butterfly sorrel leaves are crisp and delicate, containing an acidic, tart, and sour, lemon-like taste with a subtly sweet undertone. In addition to the leaves, the roots and flowers are also edible, offering mild and sweet flavors.
Purple Butterfly sorrel is available year-round.
Purple Butterfly sorrel, botanically classified as Oxalis triangularis, is an herbaceous, low-growing perennial that reaches 15 to 30 centimeters in height and 40 to 50 centimeters in width, belonging to the Oxalidaceae, or wood sorrel family. The vibrant plant received its butterfly moniker from its triangular leaves, which are said to lightly flutter in the wind. It is also known by several other names, including Purple Shamrock, False Shamrock, Purple Triangle sorrel, Purple Wood sorrel, the Love plant, and Purple Oxalis. Purple Butterfly sorrel is an uncommon variety highly favored by home gardeners for its vibrant visual appeal and unique, tangy flavor. The purple leaves retain their deep colors year-round, and the plants can be grown indoors and outdoors, depending on climate. Purple Butterfly sorrel is also utilized as a colorful, edible garnish for both sweet and savory preparations.
Purple Butterfly sorrel leaves are a good source of vitamin C to strengthen the immune system and reduce inflammation and provide anthocyanins, pigments found in the leaves that contribute antioxidant-like properties. The leaves also contain oxalic acid, a naturally occurring organic acid that gives the leave’s their sour flavor. This acid acts as a defense mechanism to discourage animals from eating the plant. It is important to note that consuming excessive amounts of oxalic acid can sometimes lead to a nutritional deficiency. Purple Butterfly sorrel is best consumed in moderation.
Purple Butterfly sorrel leaves have a tangy and sour flavor well suited for fresh applications. The leaves can be used as an edible garnish to showcase their shape, color, and taste in sweet and savory dishes, and the angular nature of the leaves provides added visual appeal. Purple Butterfly sorrel leaves can be incorporated into salads, layered in fruit bowls, combined with other greens to be used as a bed for seafood, or used to decorate main dishes. The leaves can also be removed individually and delicately placed on an angle as a topping on cupcakes, tarts, cakes, and other desserts, or they can be blended into smoothies. Purple Butterfly sorrel can be lightly cooked similarly to spinach, but the delicate leaves wilt quickly and become limp, losing their bright coloring. The leaves can also be steeped into a tea. In addition to the leaves, the flowers and underground rhizomes of the plant are edible raw or cooked. The rhizomes have a mild, sweet flavor and can be used similarly to oca or potatoes. Purple Butterfly sorrel pairs well with seafood such as crustaceans, shellfish, and fish, meats such as pork, duck, and poultry, fruits including cherries, raspberries, and plums, citrus, salad greens, and goat cheese. The leaves will keep up to a week when stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
Purple Butterfly sorrel is a popular potted plant gifted to friends and family on St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland. St. Patrick’s Day, traditionally held on March 17th, honors Saint Patrick and his devotion to prayer, the Catholic Church, and Ireland. Legend has it that Saint Patrick used shamrocks to explain the concept of the Holy Trinity, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to his fellow Irishmen. In the modern-day, the custom of wearing a shamrock on March 17th is still practiced in remembrance of Saint Patrick and the Holy Trinity, and several other plant species are also accepted as shamrock for the holiday. Purple Butterfly sorrel is trifoliate, containing three leaves, and is often labeled as a false shamrock. The plant is still included as an honorary shamrock on St. Patrick’s Day and is given as a friendly gift in memory of the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.
Purple Butterfly sorrel is native to South America, specifically in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay, and has been growing wild for centuries. Over time, the jewel-toned plant was developed for increased cultivation as a culinary and ornamental species, widely spreading worldwide for its unique coloring, flavor, and appearance. Experts believe Purple Butterfly sorrel was introduced into the United States sometime in the 1980s. Today Purple Butterfly sorrel has become naturalized worldwide and is found in home gardens and through online seed retailers in South, Central, and North America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.
Recipes that include Purple Butterfly Sorrel. One is easiest, three is harder.
|Food 52||Salmon with Watercress and Sorrel Salad|
|All Recipes||Wood Sorrel Savory Onion Tart|
|Very Vegan Val||Chilled Lemony Wood Sorrel Soup|
|The Staff Canteen||Wood Sorrel Tart|