Red Sorrel

Red Sorrel (Rumex sanguineus) is a must in any kitchen garden, this perennial herb has lovely bright lime green leaves and dark red contrasting veins which look lovely in a Summer Salad. Interesting Sorrel comes from the French word sur which means sour.

Growing – This herb grows low to the ground in a clumping mound and is available  to harvest all year long. It can be grown in part shade to full sun and suits both cool and warmer climates in moist, well drained soil.Because it likes moist soil, it can be grown around a pond or in a water garden. Perhaps we should try in in one of Booyong’s floating pots too.

If growing new plants, space 30 cm apart.

Care – We don’t give our sorrel too much attention and it just keeps giving which is great, although it can be fertilised in Spring each year to promote Summer growth. It is though meant to be susceptible to damage from frost so we will place it carefully when adding additional plants.

Whilst sorrel requires little care, we have noticed the leaves wilt during hot, dry periods.

Pests and Diseases – slugs, rust and powdery mildew.

Sorrel contains oxalic acid which is a poison so it is unsuitable to feed to animals. I wonder if this may make it a good border plant for the herb spiral at Booyong as the wallabies may not eat it. We’ll have to give that a try.

Harvest – Sorrel can be harvested all year round and leaves can be kept in the fridge for up to a week, sealed in a container or plastic bag.

Propagation – By root or seed, I often divide my plant and share some with friends. Red Sorrel is meant to flower in summer, however  I’ve had my plants for a couple of years and have yet to see them flower and go to seed. If your plant does flower and you don’t want the seeds that follow to disperse, just remove the seed heads.

Health Benefits – Red sorrel is detoxifying and the juice of leaves Is said to benefit the kidneys and urinary tract.

Eating – The leaves of sorrel and slightly sour with a distinct lemony taste. We use them sparingly in salad and vegetable dishes, the vibrant colours are stunning and sorrel also goes well with fish, veal, eggs and potatoes. It can also be added to soups and curry’s.

You don’t come across sorrel recipes often in everyday life but we’ve managed to find a few we’d like to try. This fabulous curry was discovered at Global kitchen travels. Paneer is one of our favourite things and I can’t wait to try it.

Red Sorrel Paneer Curry



5 cloves

½ teaspoon cumin seed

1 teaspoon coriander seed

7 black peppercorns

1 cinnamon stick

¼ cup grated coconut


2 tablespoons of oil

7 ounces paneer, diced

1 strand of curry leaves

1 small onion, chopped

3 plum tomatoes, chopped

1 bunch red vein sorrel

¼ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon red chili powder

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped



In a dry skillet, add the cloves, cumin seed, coriander seed, peppercorns and cinnamon. Roast until fragrant, which should take 1-2 minutes.

Transfer the roasted ingredients to a coffee/spice grinder and grind to a powder.

Add the coconut and a 1/4 cup of water to the grinder to make a paste. Set this aside for later.

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok on medium-high heat.

Add the paneer and fry until golden brown, tossing frequently.

Remove the fried paneer from the pan and place it on a paper towel.

Add curry leaves to the pan and once they start to sizzle, add the onion.

Saute the leaves and onion until the onions are translucent and softened.

Add the tomatoes to the pan and cook for 7-8 minutes until very soft.

Add the sorrel leaves and 1 cup of water to the tomato mixture and stir to combine.

Reduce the heat to medium and cover the pan. Let it cook for 5 minutes, or until the sorrel is well wilted.

Put the contents from the pan and the coconut masala paste from earlier into a blender and puree.

Add the puree, turmeric, chili powder, paneer and salt back into the pan and stir it to combine.

Let it simmer on low heat for 5 minutes.

Remove it from the heat, add the cilantro and stir.


Zingy Chickpea and Sorrel Salad

Another sorrel recipe that will be perfect on a hot summers day.


1 ¼ cups of canned chickpeas

9 ounces of red vein sorrel

2 tablespoons of parsley, chopped

Juice from one lemon

1 teaspoon of lemon zest

3 tablespoons of olive oil

½ teaspoon of salt

½ teaspoon of pepper


Drain and rinse the chickpeas.

Add all of the ingredients except for the parsley and sorrel to a bowl.

Mix well, cover, and let marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

When ready to serve, mix in the parsley and sorrel.


We’ll also have to try it in a pesto when growth is abundant, we’ll let you know how it goes!