Saturday, July 25, 2009

delicious wild edibles - yellow sorrel

Does this look familiar? You've likely seen it everywhere - as a weed in your garden, growing in parks, through sidewalk cracks - this plant is HEARTY! I've only ever known it as sourgrass my entire life, because that is what my mother told me it was called when I was a young child. We'd pick it and eat the leaves, just a few. They are lemony and DELICIOUS! I've been telling all of my neighbours about this plant and they, too, have been adding it to smoothies and salads and just eating it alone.

Recently we've had the valueable addition of a master gardener to our community. Always, always I've wanted to know the proper name for this plant, and now, now I finally got to ask her! It is oxalis stricta, or more precisely, yellow sorrel. Becausze I now know its proper name, I was also finally able to Google it and find out other desirable tidbits about this delicious plant.

From Wikipedia:
All parts of the plant are edible,with a distinct tangy flavor (as is common in all plants in the genus Oxalis).

The leaves, flowers, and pods of the plant are sometimes added to salads for decoration and flavoring. Though these can also be chewed raw (along with other parts of the plant, not including the root) as a thirst quencher.

The leaves can be used to make a flavored drink that is similar in taste to lemonade, and the whole plant can be brewed as a tisane that has an aroma somewhat like that of cooked green beans.

The juices of the plant have been extracted from its greens as a substitute to common vinegar.

Practical uses

An orange dye can be obtained by boiling the whole plant.

Medicinal uses

Oxalis stricta contains large amounts of vitamin c, allowing it to, with enough intake, help prevent diseases and medical conditions such as scurvy, hypertension, vasodilation, diabetes mellitus, and the common cold; as well as help reduce the risks of stroke, certain types of cancer, and cataracts.

Also, an infusion of the plant has been used to treat fevers, stomach cramps and nausea. A poultice of the plant has been used to treat swellings.

Isn't that AMAZING??? Not only is it delicious, but it is full of Vitamin C! It can treat fevers, stomach cramps, and nausea! It can be made into a poultice to treat swelling! No wonder it is so ubiquitous! We can use it for all sorts of things!

And now I know. And now you know, too. So be careful when you're out there weeding, you never know what you might be throwing away that is full of goodness for your body.