What can I say about wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), other than it’s pretty damn delicious…and then some?
When you’re next out for a walk, why don’t you pick a handful and nibble on them. Personally, I love their taste, which to me, has the flavour of fresh, juicy apples. Coupled with a secondary, citrusy burst of flavour. I can assure you, the taste of this tiny woodland wonder will surprise you.
Extract of a poem by Edith Nesbit
” Little daisies with snowy frills,
Courtly tulips and sweet jonquils,
Primrose and cowslip, friends well met
With white wood-sorrel and violet.“
Wood Sorrel Images
Foraging for Wood Sorrel
If you take a look at the wood sorrel images above, you’ll see that they’ve got distinctive trefoil leaves. This merely means that the leaf itself has three leaflets. A characteristic it shares with clover.
As can be seen, wood sorrel’s leaves are heart shaped. Unlike clover, which has three oval shaped leaves. Notably, clover also has a distinctive white ‘v’ shape on each leaf, which you won’t find on wood sorrel. It can be found in shaded patches in woodlands or hiding in hedgerows. Starting to sprout around the beginning of February each year.
In time, as they begin to mature, these beautiful, wild flowers will raise their heads. Subsequently their white flowers display tiny purple veins and 5 petals, held in place by a delicate stem.
The stem itself can be seen to have a reddish, purple hue, unlike clover which is green in comparison. Both plants are edible. But the wood sorrel far surpasses the clover in flavour.
Once you learn to spot the differences between wood sorrel and clover you’ll never be caught out again. However, a small word of caution. That old saying “too much of a good thing”, applies to both of these plants. That said however, we could probably apply that to most of the food we eat!
It’s also worth noting that if you have any kidney or blood problems. Then this is not the plant for you, and should not be consumed under any circumstances. Likewise pregnant or breast feeding? Then give this a miss.
Clover Images For Comparison
A recent study of wood sorrel found it to be rich in beta carotene and a good source of flavonoids. These can be found in a lot of fruit and vegetables and are responsible for their vibrant colours.
Among the many health benefits attributed to beta carotene and flavonoids are:
- reduced risk of cancer
- protection against cardiovascular disease
- asthma fighting properties
- beta carotene may slow down cognitive decline (Harvard Medical School reported in Archives of Internal Medicine (November 2007 issue).
- Flavonoids can prevent blood clots
So, have I convinced you to put on your walking shoes this weekend and to get out foraging? If so, look out for my recipes post on Friday. In it you’ll find 3 delicious recipes, all featuring wood sorrel.
Take care until next time. And finally, remember to subscribe if you don’t want to miss a post!