Kitchen Gar­den Si­mon Cour­tauld


The Oldie - - CONTENTS -

For at least a cou­ple of years, we have been pick­ing sorrel leaves from the same three plants, and they are still go­ing strong. Sorrel may be clas­si­fied as a ‘soft’ herb but it is re­mark­ably re­sis­tant to cold winters and, as spring ap­proaches, the an­tic­i­pated new growth is likely to last longer than the spinach and chard which were planted last sum­mer and will prob­a­bly have be­come ex­hausted by the end of May.

In view of the age of my sorrel plants, I should di­vide them this spring, but there is no need to make an­other sow­ing this year. Strangely, sorrel is not often found in the seed cat­a­logues, though it may be listed un­der sal­ads. I have also seen it re­ferred to as a veg­etable, per­haps be­cause the ar­row-shaped leaves re­sem­ble spinach. The most

im­por­tant thing in car­ing for sorrel is to cut down the flow­er­ing stems, which grow very rapidly in sum­mer, to en­cour­age new leaves to keep com­ing.

Apart from this cul­ti­vated, broadleaved sorrel, there are wild va­ri­eties, such as wood sorrel, which were often used in cook­ing in Tu­dor Eng­land and then known col­lo­qui­ally as green sauce. In the 1970s an ec­cen­tric school­mas­ter, who taught at Wel­beck Col­lege in Le­ices­ter­shire, founded a Sorrel So­ci­ety to pro­mote the dis­tri­bu­tion and en­joy­ment of all sor­rels. But any suc­cess it may have had was limited and short­lived, as the so­ci­ety did not out­last the school­mas­ter, who died some years ago.

Sorrel is not widely ap­pre­ci­ated these days, ex­cept per­haps by those who have some knowl­edge of French cui­sine. Charles Ryder (in Brideshead Re­vis­ited) en­joyed ‘a soup of os­eille’ for din­ner at Ciro’s in Paris with Rex Mot­tram; and I can highly rec­om­mend a sorrel omelette and a sorrel sauce with fish. True, the leaves of sorrel have a slightly sour or le­mony flavour which may be off-putting to some peo­ple, but this can be mod­er­ated by adding a few young spinach or net­tle leaves. It is also worth men­tion­ing that sorrel con­tains ox­alic acid, which should be a warn­ing to those with gout or rheuma­toid arthri­tis.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.