Due to their high levels of oxalic acid, sheep sorrel leaves have a refreshing lemony ‘zing’ to them, making them a perfect addition to this potato soup recipe.
Native to Asia and Europe, this lemony edible plant has naturalised widely in Australia and is commonly found in backyards.
Sheep sorrel (Rumex acetosella) is a species of flowering perennial weed in the Polygonaceae family. The name sorrel is derived from the Germanic word ‘sur’ and the old French word ‘surele’ meaning sour.
Sometimes referred to as field sorrel, garden sorrel, sour weed or sour dock, it favours acidic soils and sunny positions. With a high concentration of vitamin C, sheep sorrel has been consumed as a tea for a very long time, as well as being added to a variety of foods.
How to eat sheep sorrel
The young leaves are small, quite decorative and, due to the high levels of oxalic acid, have a refreshing lemony ‘zing’ to them.
Oxalic acid, also known as oxalate, is an organic compound that is found in many plants. Our bodies can produce its own oxalate or we can get it from our food. Though it was once prescribed to cure scurvy due to its high levels of vitamin C, we wouldn’t recommend eating large and regular quantities of it, because in some people it can crystallise and form kidney stones.
Eaten occasionally, and in small amounts, fresh sheep sorrel leaves are a delicious addition to salads, risotto and quiches or, due to that lemony ‘zing’, an excellent addition to salad dressings. The fresh leaves of sheep sorrel can also be used in a similar way as rennet, as it will work as a coagulant in milk for cheesemaking.
Sheep sorrel & potato soup recipe
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cups vegie stock
- 3 tbsp chopped garlic
- 1 1/2 cups of lightly packed sheep sorrel leaves
- 1 kg potatoes, unpeeled and diced
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup water
Heat olive oil in a stockpot over low heat, add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add leaves and cook for around three minutes until leaves are wilted and have turned a dull, khaki colour.
Add potatoes, stock, herbs and pepper and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat before adding the milk and water and blend until smooth. Serve with a dollop of cream.
Want to know more about sheep sorrel?
In Issue #24 of Pip Magazine, we bring you more information on shell sorrel, including:
- How to identify sheep sorrel, and;
- A recipe for a sheep sorrel tonic treatment.
You can access this article online here as part of our digital subscription offering, or subscribe to the print version of Pip Magazine here.