One of the most delicious wild greens is Sorrel (Rumex acetosa). Sorrel soup has been a traditional dish served since the Middle Ages.
In Belarus and Poland it is still popular as soup, yet in the British Isles it’s prominence has wained.
Sorrel has a delicious tangy flavour, with one of the common names that children often call it being ‘vinegar leaf’.
If you ever go out on long walks and chance upon a nice patch of sorrel, try nibbling on some of the raw leaves.
You’ll find that eating sorrel triggers your saliva glands, and produces a refreshing explosion of citrus flavours that give way to a nice release of saliva. Perfect if you are feeling somewhat thirsty.
In bygone days, sorrel was used for adding sour flavours to our dishes along with French Sorrel (Rumex scutatus), which is a larger variety and tended to be grown in vegetable gardens.
In the 1400s lemons where beginning to be imported into England, and the use of sorrel got replaced.
This makes sense when you consider that to get the same amount of flavour as the juice of half a lemon, you would need to pick a large amount of sorrel which in the busy kitchens of grand households would take time. Productivity and time-management had come of age!
A Note About Photo Identification
If you want to know what Sorrel (Rumex acetosa) looks like, please get a wildflower ID book out of the library, or buy one of these ones. Then look the plant up using the botanical name – that’s the Rumex acetosa bit – I encourage you to get off the screen, go outside and find the plant in question in the wilds. See this as a game of curiosity. Child like wonder. Enjoy.
Sorrel Soup Recipe Ingredients
- 130 g sorrel
- 100 g watercress
- 2 medium-sized fennel
- 3 dessert spoons tamari
- 1 onion
- 1″ piece of fresh ginger (chopped)
- 2″ piece of fresh turmeric (chopped)
- 1-litre chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- cracked black pepper to taste
Sorrel Soup Recipe Instructions
- Place the fennel in a conventional oven at 200 °C, fan-assisted 180°C or gas mark 6, and roast for 20 minutes.
- While the fennel is cooking, saute the onion in a small amount of olive oil, along with the ginger and turmeric.
- Wash the sorrel and watercress and chop.
- Remove the fennel from the oven, take off any tough outer skin, and chop.
- In a blender add all the ingredients, and pulse, blitz, blend the mixture to your desired consistency. Some people like fine soups, others chunky.
- Heat and serve.
Serves: 2 people