Sorrel

To find out all there is to know about vegetables, health and nutrition.

Scientific Name

Rumex sp. R. scutatus (French sorrel), R. acetosa (garden sorrel), R. acetosa {Q}Profusion{Q}, R. dentatus, R. acetosella (common sheep sorrel), R. patienta (patience dock, garden patience), R. alpinus (monk’s rhubarb), R. crispus (curly dock), R. sanguineus (ornamental sorrel) (Polygonaceae family)

Common name

Sorrel, common sorrel, garden sorrel, patience dock
Sorrel

Varieties and seasons

There are around one hundred varieties of sorrel, of which the best known is the common or garden sorrel with broad, arrow-shaped leaves, the interior of which looks like fangs.

Its small bell-shape flowers turn into reddish spikes in early summer.

French sorrel has large, round, fleshy and lanceolate leaves, clustered in bright green bunches.

Patience sorrel is the largest variety, with round, coarse leaves and green flowers. Often mistaken for a weed, the “patience” has the advantage of being less acidic and a little more bitter.

Vegetable garden: growing sorrel

Sorrel likes a combination of sun and shade. Too much sun or heat gives it a bitter taste.

It spreads rapidly and is difficult to control.

The seeds are sown in Spring or Autumn in a mixture of soil which includes compost. When the plants have grown 5 cm tall, the seedlings need to be given more light by creating a 30 cm gap between each plant. Remove the flowers as soon as the buds appear to ensure that the leaves do not taste too bitter. Leaves shall be picked up throughout the year before flowering.

Creating a vegetable garden

Production

France, Belgium and Netherlands are the main producers of sorrel.

Nutritional values (per 100 g)

Raw*

Cooked*

RDI**

Energy  

24 kcal

24 kcal

Proteins

2 g

1.8 g

Carbohydrates

2.4 g

2.9 g

Fat

0.7 g

0.6 g

Fibres

0.8 g

0.7 g

30 g

Sodium

4 mg

3 mg

Potassium

390 mg

321 mg

2,000 mg

Iron

2.4 mg

2.1 mg

14 mg

Magnesium

103 mg

89 mg

375 mg

Provitamin A

2,400 µg

2,080 µg

4,800 µg

Vitamin C

48 mg

26 mg

80 mg

Vitamin B9

150 µg

94 µg

200 µg

* Ciqual 1995 ** Recommended Daily Intake

Nutritionist’s advice

Like all leaf vegetables, sorrel has a high water content (93%), and is therefore low in calories.

It is also an excellent source of the following vitamins: C, provitamin A (2 to 3 mg/100 g, as much as spinach and cress), and vitamin B9.

In terms of minerals, sorrel is a good source of iron, magnesium, and calcium.

Thanks to its low energy content, sorrel has an excellent nutritional density in vitamins C, B9, provitamins, calcium, iron and magnesium.

When it comes to portions...?

a child portion : two or three leaves

an adult portion: about ten leaves

Cooking and nutrition: tasty combinations

-Sorrel and carp: sorrel’s natural acidity gives a delicious bite to the rather bland taste of carp, or any herbivorous fish raised in ponds. It helps dissolve or soften fine bones that may spoil your enjoyment of the meal. The calcium they contain is then available to digest, offering the following nutritional benefits: calcium, vitamins C and B9, provitamin A, protein, etc.

-Salmon with sorrel has become a classic French dish. Add a handful of fresh or frozen sorrel leaves to your soups and sauces. They bring tanginess, flavour and colour to the meal, along with providing antioxidants.

>> See all of the foundation’s recipes

Tip

The acidic flavour of sorrel comes from the oxalic acid in the leaves. Round-leaf sorrel has a slightly lemony taste that goes perfectly with fish, soups, white sauces, creams, eggs, poultry and white meats as well as goat’s cheese.

Additional info

Sorrel is very high in carotenoids, which consist of 1/3 carotene - or provitamin A - with the rest made up of lutein and zeaxanthin. Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants. As a result they play a beneficial role in preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancers. They also have a specific protective effect on the retina. A serving of sorrel (200 g) provides 30% of your iron requirements, 60% of your magnesium needs, 90% of your vitamin B9 and C requirements and over 100% of your provitamin A needs.

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