It took me a while to actually figure out what this was. It grows in my yard, and my two forage-y friends told me it was edible, but they couldn’t remember the name. What they did remember was the incredible lemony flavor of this little clover-like plant. I’d wanted to write about this for awhile, but first I had to find its name. Luckily for y’all I stumbled on it watching a video about wild foraging: wood sorrel, from the genus Oxalis.
Wood sorrel comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, but some of the key identifiers are the clover-like leaves, and the flowers on long slender stems. The flavor is actually pretty incredible; it’s tart, bright, and lemony in a way that’s startling. I’ve wandered through my garden and pulled it from between tomato plants for a salad or to feed my rabbits with. THEY LOSE THEIR TINY BUNNY MINDS OVER IT.
The one drawback of the plant is that it has oxalic acid. Now plenty of plants we eat on the regular have it, but it should be avoided by folks who are prone to kidney stones. Talk with your doctor about oxalic acid to see if you should avoid this, and possibly other foods as well.
While rummaging around online I found a few recipes that look pretty tasty:
SUMMER WOOD SORREL SOUP (from herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.com)
- 1 cup wood sorrel leaves
- 1 onion or 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 3 or 4 tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 pints water
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small pot of cream
- wood sorrel flowers to garnish
Lightly fry the onions. Put all the ingredients into a pan and boil for 10 mins. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the soup to cool and then put it in the fridge to chill. When you are ready to serve the soup, add a swirl of cream to each bowl and garnish with the edible white flowers. Serve chilled with fresh bread.
WOOD SORREL PESTO. THAT’S RIGHT. PESTO: (from cookcanread.wordpress.com)
- 3 medium cloves of garlic (or more to taste)
- 3 packed c. wood sorrel
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3-4 T. olive oil
In a food processor or blender, whir the garlic a few times to mince it and then add the wood sorrel, salt and 2 T. of olive oil. Pulse the mixture, stopping to scrape down the edges a few times with a butter knife or spatula, until the leaves are all chopped. Add the remaining oil a bit at a time until the pesto reaches your desired consistency, and feel free to use even more if you like a wetter/looser sauce. Serve immediately or store in a tightly-closed container in the fridge for up to a week.
CHICKEN WITH SORREL (From dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com)
- 2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 2 1/2- to 3-pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 6 cups 6 cups loosely packed sorrel, about 1/2 pound, trimmed and washed
- Put butter in large skillet, preferably nonstick, and turn heat to medium-high. When butter begins to melt, swirl it around pan. When its foam subsides and it begins to brown, add the chicken, skin side down. Cook, rotating pieces after 3 or 4 minutes so they brown evenly. As they brown on the skin side, sprinkle them with salt and pepper and turn them over; sprinkle skin side with salt and pepper as well. If necessary, lower heat to medium to prevent burning. Remove chicken to a plate when chicken is completely browned all over, in 10 to 15 minutes.
- Immediately add onions to pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften but still hold their shape, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup water and cook for a minute, stirring occasionally, until it reduces slightly. Return chicken to pan, turn heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for about 10 minutes. Uncover, add sorrel, stir, and cover again.
- Cook about 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through and sorrel is dissolved into onions and liquid. Serve hot, with rice or crusty bread.
I really enjoy including a small video along with these wild foraging articles so you can actually see the plant in action. This guy shares a host of good info and I recommend snooping through the rest of his stuff: