Sorrel (Rumex acetosa and Rumex scutatus)
Rumex acetosa and Rumex scutatus
These excellent perennials are easy to grow. They have very similar flavours and may be used in a wide variety of dishes, including soups, omelettes, and pork, and in sour sauces; they may also be used fresh in salads. Common or garden sorrel, Rumex acetosa, is unfortunately rarely available from nurseries, who usually stock the more acid Rumex scutatus under the name French or Large sorrel. The plants will grow to a height of 600 mm (2 ft) or more if allowed to flower, but regular cutting should prevent this.
Sow a few seeds in April where the plants are to grow. The seeds are large and should be sown 12-20 mm (½-¾ in) deep, with two or three at each growing point, and thinned later. The plants should be 300 mm (12 in) apart.
Sorrel will grow on most soils but needs to be kept moist. To get the best leaves, grow the plants in a semi-shaded site; in constant direct sunlight the leaves may be less fleshy.
To encourage leaf growth the flowering shoots should be pinched out as they appear.
Harvest the leaves as required from summer onwards.
Soil: Most types; keep moist
Harvest: Summer onwards