- Sorrel contains oxalic acid and calcium oxalate - these are quite poisonous if eaten in profusion and can cause a host of nasty side effects such as vomiting, muscular twitchings, convulsions, and there has even been a recorded case of 'death by Sorrel'. Despite this, so long as you are reasonably healthy and don't gorge yourself on Sorrel too often, it is perfectly safe to eat - as Sorrel soup contains a reasonable amount of Sorrel, do not have it regularly and have only a moderate portion when you do!
- It could possibly be mistaken for the poisonous plant Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum), but once you know the identification features that tell the two apart, you should have no issue - see below.
This is not Sorrel, but the poisonous Lords and Ladies:
|Young Lords and Ladies plant - poisonous|
|Curled pencil-like appearance of young Lords and Ladies leaves - Sorrel will never |
look like this - it grows in rosettes from a central root system
|Lords and Ladies leaf structure - rounded backward-pointing lobes|
How to tell Sorrel apart from Lords and Ladies:
1. Sorrel has pointy backward-pointing lobes, whereas Lords and Ladies has rounded
2. Sorrel has thicker, more succulent leaves, whereas Lords and Ladies has thinner, more limp leaves
|One edible, one poisonous. Edible Sorrel on the left and poisonous Lords and Ladies on the right|
Common Sorrel (Rumex acetosa):
|Pointed lobes, not rounded - identification feature of Common Sorrel|
|Sorrel amongst the grass in a field|
When cooked for too long, Sorrel has the unfortunate trait of turning brown and slimy, so the trick with this soup is to add the Sorrel leaves right at the end so that they don't overcook, maintaining that vibrant green colour.
- ½ a carrier bag of Sorrel
- 1 Red onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 or 4 medium potatoes
- ½ veg stock cube
- Single/double cream
- 1 egg
- Salt and Pepper
Sweat off the onion and garlic in a pan for 3 or 4 minutes. Cut potato in to small chunks and add to the pan (if you prefer a thicker soup, add more potato). Add boiling water (quantity will depend on how much soup you are making) and the stock cube to the pan and boil for 15 minutes until the potato is soft, take off heat. Add the egg, a glug of cream, the Sorrel leaves and then blitz. Taste and season well. Serve with a swirl of cream, chopped fresh Sorrel leaves and black pepper.
This tangy, summery soup makes a great starter - I prefer it thin, gives it a more delicate feeling.