History of sorrel
The Roman and Egyptian peoples used sorrel for its digestive properties. In ancient French, the word sorrel derived from the word surele means “on”. In the Middle Ages, it was also used to prevent scurvy. The sorrel was transported by the first English settlers to Canada.
Nutritional value of sorrel
|Per 100 g (2/3 cup)||Red sorrel|
|Dietary fiber||2.9 g|
|Vitamin C||48 mg|
|Vitamin A||200 µg|
|Beta carotene||2400 µg|
Sorrel, like spinach and rhubarb, contains a high content of oxalates, compounds that decrease the absorption of iron and calcium.
Health effects of sorrel
Vitamin C / antioxidants
Sorrel is a good source of vitamin C. In addition to its antioxidant role, vitamin C helps maintain skin integrity, helps wound healing, protects cells from premature aging caused by free radicals and aids immune functions. In addition, it facilitates the absorption of non-heme iron of plant origin .
Sorrel is also rich in phenolic compounds, a substance with a strong antioxidant potential 2 . These phenolic compounds would promote cardiovascular health by maintaining the integrity of vascular tissue and preventing platelets from clumping together to form a clot. These also have an anti-inflammatory effect and would prevent the proliferation of cells that surround the arteries and therefore, prevent the onset and progression of atherosclerosis.
Sorrel is also a good source of potassium . Like sodium, potassium is an essential mineral that performs several necessary functions in the human body. With the help of sodium, it helps maintain the acid-base balance of the body and controls the pH inside cells. It is also essential for the transmission of nerve impulses, for muscle contraction, it participates in the proper functioning of the kidneys and adrenal glands and also in protein synthesis and carbohydrate metabolism.
Use of sorrel
When buying, look for a sorrel with firm leaves and a bright green with fine stems. It can be kept for 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator in a perforated plastic container. It is advisable to wash it just before consuming it with plenty of water and then remove the stem to cook it.
With its tangy and lemony flavor, it can also be eaten raw in salads. For cooking do not use a cast iron or aluminum pan because the sorrel is very fragile and darkens when in contact with these metals. Bitterness will develop if it is steamed. Cooked, sorrel is prepared like spinach, and can be added to soups and sauces. Sorrel soup and sorrel sauce are very popular in Europe and Russia. The sauce accompanies poultry, fish, veal and egg dishes such as quiches. The sorrel can also be reduced to a puree and integrate into a mashed potato for example.
A word from the nutritionist
Sorrel is an interesting vegetable to discover or rediscover because of its original taste and its high nutritional density. Use it sparingly because its taste is very intense.