- Sorrel is loaded with vitamin C. Add 2/3 cup of sorrel to a salad, and you're getting half of your daily value of the essential antioxidant.
- This leafy green is also an excellent source of vitamin A, which helps support eyes and maintain good eyesight.
- And iron? Sorrel's got you covered. It's an excellent source of the mineral, which transports oxygen to working muscles and helps support protein metabolism.
Ancient Egyptians were the first folks to use sorrel. They wrapped their meat in it to make it tender, and ate sorrel as a digestive aid. Later on, this leafy green caught on in Europe and Northern Asia, where its sour flavor was a big hit. (The name sorrel is Old French for "sour.")
Today, sorrel is the key ingredient in schav, a traditional sorrel soup (served cold) that is popular in Russia, Poland and Ukraine. It also appears in the French classic potage crème d'oseille, a.k.a. cream of sorrel soup. In England, sorrel forms the base for green sauce, a sweet-and-sour condiment that pairs well with roasted meat.
There are a few varieties of sorrel, which vary in leaf size and sourness. Wild sorrel, also called garden sorrel, is quite sour and usually used in soups. Common sorrel, on the other hand, is sweeter, tasting a bit like kiwis or sour strawberries. This makes it good for salads. And the best garnish variety is Buckler leaf sorrel, which has tiny, spade-shaped leaves.
When Is Sorrel in Season?
Sorrel peaks between spring and mid-summer.
How to Choose Sorrel
It's not easy to find sorrel in grocery stores. Since the leaves are sensitive and easily crushed during shipping, many supermarkets can't carry it. However, you're likely to find sorrel at the farmer's market. A good bunch of sorrel will have fresh, springy, verdant green leaves, without any wilting or mold.
How to Store Sorrel
Since it can wilt quickly, sorrel needs to be used shortly after you purchase it. To keep it fresh, place sorrel in a resealable plastic bag and store it in the fridge for up to three days.
How to Prepare Sorrel
Like fresh spinach or arugula, sorrel just needs to be washed before being tossed in salads. It can also be chopped or blended for use in soups.
Most recipes will call for individual sorrel leaves, tablespoons (chopped) or, for soups, cups (chopped, then blended).
Arugula's slight bitterness is a nice replacement for sorrel in salads. Or, to get as close to sorrel as possible, you can add a squeeze of lemon juice to spinach leaves.