Sorrel for your Sallet

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The season is really picking up in the fairy world. Twilight hours are

bustling with flower fairies shaking seedpods, doling out dewdrops,

and restocking moonbeams to get the springtime meadows ready. The

fairies got a gig at Jacobs Farms to help cultivate the olde-tyme herb

Sorrel. This herb has traditionally been wild-crafted, or gathered

from the springtime fields, side yards, culverts, and kitchen gardens,

or growing in neat rows.

Rumex acetosa is a pungent lemony leaf that can be used as an accent

herb or as a green for salads or cooking. The circumspect chef new to

this herb may like to mix it 1:3 with spinach until they become

familiar with this verdant personality. Lentil or pea soups take

especially well to the addition of sorrel. To flavor a dish, tear

sorrel into small pieces or slice it into elegant ribbons using the

chiffonade technique. To chiffonade: stack the leaves in a small pile,

roll up into a cigar, and slice cross section into fine

ribbons—and don't forget the Julia Child accent. It can even

be processed like a pesto and be introduced into sauces or soups by

the spoonful.

Sorrel was a staple in the 17th Century cuisine. Its sauce was a

common accompaniment to meat dishes. Yet it was England's earliest

promoter of vegetarianism, John Evelyn, who wrote lovingly of sorrel

as a “sallet” herb. Evelyn was one to the first to

write about land conservation and London pollution in the 1600s. In

Acetaria- A Dissourse of Sallets, he wrote, "...in the making of

sallets (sorrel) imparts a grateful quickness to the rest as supplying

the want of oranges and lemons. Together with salt, it gives both the

name and the relish to sallets from the sapidity, which renders not

plants and herbs only, but men themselves pleasant and agreeable." The

FruitGuys can't agree more.

 

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