Wonderful perennial leaf vegetable with a strong lemon flavour. An abundance of leaves is produced year round in this clump forming plant, which has the largest leaf (up to 30cm long!) and forms the most bulk of any of the sorrels. The plant has been cultivated around the world for centuries and is used in many different ways, including the following, according to Wikipedia: In northern Nigeria, sorrel is used in stews usually with spinach. In some Hausa communities, it is steamed and made into salad using kuli-kuli (traditional roasted peanut cakes with oil extracted), salt, pepper, onion and tomatoes. In India, the leaves are used in soups or curries made with yellow lentils and peanuts. In Afghanistan, the leaves are coated in a wet batter and deep fried, then served as an appetizer or if in season during Ramadan, for breaking the fast. Throughout eastern Europe, wild or garden sorrel is used to make sour soups, stewed with vegetables or herbs, meats or eggs. In rural Greece, it is used with spinach, leeks, and chard in spanakopita. In Albania, the leaves are simmered and served cold marinated in olive oil, or as an ingredient for filling byrek pies (byrek me lakra). In Armenia, the leaves are collected in spring, woven into braids, and dried for use during winter. The most common preparation is aveluk soup, where the leaves are rehydrated and rinsed to reduce bitterness, then stewed with onions, potatoes, walnuts, garlic and bulgur wheat or lentils, and sometimes sour plums.
We use it mostly in salads, soups, layered in lasagna, and our favourite - in white sauce on new potatoes. It is an absolute favourite of the kids but we regulate the intake due to the high amounts of oxalic acid contained in the leaf. All sorrels can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, so the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content is reduced if the plant is cooked, but those with rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity are advised not to eat sorrel leaves.
All parts of sorrel are edible. The root can be cooked, and then dried and ground into a powder. The seeds can also be eaten raw or cooked, and also ground into a powder and mixed with other flours to make bread.
Lemon sorrel also has medicinal uses, with the leaves being used fresh or dried leaves for their astringent, diuretic, laxative and cooling properties. However, the greatest medicinal benefits come from the Rumex acetellosa (Sheep's Sorrel) species.
Other uses of the plant include extraction of a dark green to brown and dark grey dyes can be obtained from the roots, they do not need a mordant, and a grey-blue dye from the leaves and stems. The juice of the plant is also said to remove stains from linen and also ink stains (but not ball-point ink) from white material.
A super low maintenance plant, all you need to do is keep the seed stalks cut back in summer to promote new leaf growth. It is frost and drought hardy but the leaves do become tough if not watered. It prefers full sun but will tolerate part shade. The plant accumulates potassium, sodium, calcium and phosphorus so makes a great companion plant for fruit trees, preferably on the sunny side. Height 60cm. 9cm pot. See also Sheep's Sorrel, French Sorrel and Blood Vein Sorrel.